Celebrating the dusk chorus

Every year I think: I must get up early, and I mean early, to enjoy the joys of the dawn chorus. I have this image of me bravely leaving the comfort of the duvet, tip-topping out of the house with a flask of steaming hot coffee and walking to the nearest part of countryside. I’d sit down and let the wall of sound that is the dawn chorus envelope me. Wow, it sounds amazing just thinking about it.

There are plenty of great walks with fantastic guides to tempt me too; the lure of a bacon butty at the end of a 5am start providing a very tempting incentive. The dawn chorus at its height is one of the wonders of the natural world. It takes the concept of birdsong to another level of intensity. Its a bit like seeing stars above a city, which can look good on a crisp clear night, and then going in to the darkness of the countryside and really seeing the sky at night and that wow moment as you stare up into the galaxy of stars.

Birdsong at this time of year is starting to intensify. I’ve had a few moments of pure pleasure watching a blue tit singing its little heart out on a walk to the station and catching sight of a house sparrow in central London creating a lovely harmony.

It feels like the birds are beginning to crank up their volume control. Tuning into the song birds in the morning before the noise of traffic grips the cityscape makes this time of year very special and its easier to do than you might think.

And yet I think that we overlook the pleasures of the dusk chorus and the ease of access to listen to birds at this time of day. Every day the amount of daylight is inching forwards our yearning for spring gets that much greater. In a months time the clocks will have changed to British Summer Time, to the relief of many people; there is this window of opportunity now as day becomes night to listen to the pure sounds of birds singing to their mates.

It dawned on me on my walk from being dropped off from my car share that the dusk chorus can be pretty good. As I got out of the car for my short walk home I was hit by a wall of sound. Yes it was coming from a small patch of woodland but it was something that I noticed for the next fifteen minutes before I reached my back door. This was a lovely backdrop for the three-quarters of mile walk as the daylight continued to fade.

Sometimes before I get home I will stop and listen to a blackbird perched high above me on a TV aerial belting out a song that can melt your heart and just floats out of the gloom and fading light. It will only be for a few minutes but it really can lift the spirits and just make you feel good.

Dusk takes hold at around Six O’Clock and you could really notice the richness of the birdsong and the variety. You don’t need to be able to identify all of the different birds singing to get a real sense of their preparation for spring. Our feathered friends know that the season that ends the long dark winter months is coming and they want to celebrate through their sweet melodies.

We should celebrate the under-rated dusk chorus. It will never have the pure intensity of the dawn chorus but its worth tuning into and making it part of your everyday dose of nature. Before long you’ll be able to recognise some of the different tunes that fill the air and you’ll have a real connection with the world around you.

So give it a go; you’ll be amazed by the wonderful bird song that you’ll be able to hear.


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