My name is Gill Thompson and I’m the Ecologist at the Northumberland National Park. Spring is full of bird song and this year more than most lots of people are listening to it and appreciating it. I am always asked to identify birds at this time of year from their song and try to give people ways of remembering them.
Although I can’t do any dawn chorus walks at the moment we are planning to do a series of blogs, social media posts and recordings to help you identify things you may be hearing in your gardens and in your local area. I have been out early in the morning recording some of my local sounds and will share them with you.
Why do birds sing? In general male birds (and it is mainly males that sing although females call and make sounds too) sing to either attract a mate or defend a territory – in effect ‘Come here’ or ‘Get lost’!
This is at its most intense at this time of year as birds are pairing up for the breeding season and feeding to get in good condition. Birds sing more in the morning as it gets light and sometimes in the evening. This is the time of day when the wind is often lightest so sound travels well and they can do it before it gets fully light for feeding (and avoiding predators).
Getting up early really is worth it at this time of year as you can hear and see so many more birds. I often find it hard to get out of bed, but then am really glad I did, wandering around when there is no-one there, the sound is amazing and the light really different – oh and often a great way of having two breakfasts as well!