I found myself in the garden at 5 o'clock this morning after one of our dogs decided they had to answer the call of nature. This particular dog can't be trusted to go out alone, having the urge as she does to tunnel underneath the decking and then get stuck. So she has to be accompanied which isn't always welcome in the middle on the night... but such are the joys of owning a dog.
The dog ambled around the garden in the dim light of early dawn, not in any hurry despite the morning chill.
I stood in minimal clothing, wishing I'd put on my dressing gown, shivering and listening to a solitary blackbird singing from a nearby roof top. My early morning contemplation led me to conjecture that this plaintiff call of the blackbird was all that remained of the dawn chorus. In my youth, should I be awake before the sun, I would sometimes open the window and lie in bed listening to the excited cacophony of birds as the dawn broke.
Now, standing in the back garden staring up at the dark blue sky, I realised with some sadness that this earnest recital was all that was left of what was once a spectacular celebration of the new day.
Two more blackbirds did eventually join the solo performer and a few minutes later I heard a more distant pair of sparrows.
But that was it. A production full of hope but slightly underwhelming.
As I waited for the dog to wander in, I recalled the days when the dawn chorus was really something to experience. A hullabaloo of bird song, made up of a dozen species or more, each singing with gusto in happy anticipation of another day.
Regretfully, I currently reside in suburbia, where birds are few and the desire to find joy in nature is sadly lacking in many of the suburbanites, but I wonder if other parts of the country and indeed other parts of the world still ring with the absolute joy and wonder of the spectacular daily jamboree that is the dawn chorus?
So I have decided to ask you.
It's not a scientific survey, just a quick question to see if, as I hope, the dawn chorus is still alive and well elsewhere.
It's all anonymous but you can add a comment after the post if you like.
I'll publish the results in due course.
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