River Wissey Lovell Fuller

The Dawn Chorus

June 2002

How exactly does National Dawn Chorus Day take all day?

On May 6th, I woke up just before 4.30 am (don't ask me why). The dawn chorus was just starting, so I just lay and took in its panoply of sound. Soon after, I turned on my bedside radio to hear that it was National Dawn Chorus Day and that I had been communicating with some 600,000 twitchers up and down the country. Now, it seems a strange thing to have a special day for, but it was infinitely preferable to National Anti-Smoking Day or National Feminists Day.

The dawn chorus is something quite wonderful. It is so like a symphony orchestra, where all the instruments are playing slightly different melodies, yet the end result is harmonious and very pleasing to the ear.

It was not always like that with me. I was brought up in London's suburbia and had never heard the dawn chorus until I was evacuated to a small Hampshire village. As a child, I cursed the noise because it always woke me up. My mother told me that the birds sang in their happiness and gratitude for seeing in another new day. The man on the radio said it was a warning to all other birds of the same species that this was their patch and for others to clear off. Whatever the reason, the dawn chorus is a magnificent sound and I certainly do not complain if I wake early and hear it.

Graham Forster

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