International Dawn Chorus Day 2nd May

Set your alarm and celebrate the dawn chorus, one of nature’s most uplifting wonders

The Wildlife Trust is here to tell us about International Dawn Chorus Day on Sunday and the birds you can listen out for, with links to their song.

A celebration of nature’s symphony

Taking place on the first Sunday of May, International Dawn Chorus Day is the worldwide celebration of nature’s greatest symphony. All across the world people rise early to revel in the sweet sound of birdsong, from rattling wrens in Rotherham to crooning cowbirds in the Caribbean.  And remember you can always just open your window – and listen…

Urban beginnings

Dawn Chorus Day has grown from a small event in Birmingham in the 1980s to a global annual celebration, enjoyed in over eighty countries. You don’t need to be surrounded by countryside to enjoy nature’s symphony – cities have songbirds of their own. Beyond the cooing of pigeons you could hear the serenade of robins and blackbirds, the chatter of house sparrows and the laughing calls of herring gulls, to name just a few!

Who can I hear?

Here are some of the star performers you could hear in the dawn chorus this spring

Song thrush

Often the most confident voice in the dawn chorus, and one of the earliest to start singing. Listen for loud, clear verses repeated 2-4 times.

Photo credit Amy Lewis

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) · song
Dominic Garcia-Hall
Underhill Farm, Peak National Park, Staffordshire, England, United Kingdom


Another early riser, with a clear and confident voice. The beautiful song is low-pitched and given in short, fluty verses. Unlike the song thrush, blackbirds don’t repeat their verses.

Photo credit Wildlife Trusts









Common Blackbird (Turdus merula) · song
David Bissett
Basildon District (near Billericay), Essex, England, United Kingdom


Like the larger thrushes, robins start singing early in the morning. The song is clear and beautiful, comprised of rippling notes and whistles. Robins are one of the few birds to sing all through winter.

Photo credit Wildlife Trusts









European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) · song
Paul Driver
Northaw, Herts, United Kingdom


This migrant warbler has one of the finest voices in the dawn chorus. Its song begins as a chattering warble, before breaking into louder, clearer flute-like notes.

Photo credit Wildlife Trusts










Eurasian Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) · song
Richard Dunn
Beacon Hill, Northumberland, United Kingdom

One of the most easily recognised voices in the dawn chorus. The chiffchaff’s song is a repetitive “chiff chaff, chiff chaff, chiff chaff”, occasionally with an extra note mixed in.

Chiff Chaff photo credit Richard Steel 2020 Vision









Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita collybita) · male, song
Andrew Harrop
Great Britain (near Edith Weston), Rutland, England, United Kingdom


The RSPB is also holding an event – you can join live at 5am – 9am here