Set Your Alarm For The Wildest Free Music Festival Of The Year

  • Sunday 7 May is International Dawn Chorus Day – a wonderful reminder to celebrate the joy of bird song.
  • Events are taking place across Scotland. Visit an RSPB Scotland nature reserve near you and experience the magic of the dawn chorus first-hand.
  • Watching birds and listening to birdsong is shown to have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing.


International Dawn Chorus Day takes place on Sunday 7 May 2023 and RSPB Scotland is inviting you to wrap your ears around nature’s finest musical experience.


Wherever you live, this amazing festival of bird song (known as the Dawn Chorus) happens on your doorstep.


Starting about an hour before sunrise (around 4:30am) birds take advantage of the still, quiet air to trumpet, squeak and caw to attract a mate and warn off rivals from their patch. Don’t worry if that’s a bit early for you, though – they often continue singing until about 7am so you can catch their final encore.


While it’s still dark, you may hear the first robins and blackbirds, even in city centres. As it gets progressively lighter more and more birds will join in and by dawn the springtime chorus will be in full swing. Even if you don’t know which bird is which, simply immersing yourself in the amazing sounds of this free concert can be a breath-taking experience that will eclipse any Glastonbury headliner.


Jon Carter, the RSPB’s Dawn Chorus Manager, said: “Whether you’re a seasoned dawn chorus festival-goer or a newcomer keen to experience nature’s celebratory symphony, this is the perfect opportunity to connect with nature on your doorstep. You don’t even need to leave your home, simply fling open your windows and doors and enjoy nature’s free concert.”


If you want to go further afield, the RSPB is offering a wide range of engaging events and guided walks on its nature reserves designed to help you experience the magic of nature first-hand. Mersehead is among the participating reserves in Scotland, with a special Dusk Chorus walk on Saturday 6 May.


Jon added: “Our expert guides will bring nature’s concert to life. Whether you’re at the Wetland stage (headliners include Reed Warbler and Swallow), the Woodland stage (where you can catch sets by such big names as Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Nuthatch) or the Garden stage (give it up for the Song Thrush, Blackbird and perennial festival favourite, the one-and-only Robin!) you’re sure to have a thrilling and memorable experience. So, why not set an early alarm call and join an event near you.”

If you’re not sure what you’re hearing and you’d like to have a go at identifying your local singing superstars, the RSPB’s Birdsong Identifier will help you put a name to some of those mysterious unmasked singers!


A recent YouGov poll commissioned by the RSPB found 91% of UK adults agree that seeing birds and hearing birdsong have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing.


Sadly, bird populations are declining and 38 million birds have vanished from our skies in the last 50 years. Many of the birds who lend their song to the Dawn Chorus are struggling. Across the UK, Song Thrushes have declined by 49% since the 1960s, while Starlings have declined by over 80% since the 1970s.


Visit: www.rspb.org.uk/dawnchorus to see the full festival line-up and to find events near you.


Join in our celebration of the Dawn Chorus on social media, using the hashtag #DawnChorusDay.


Twitter – @RSPBScotland | Facebook – @RSPBScotland | Instagram – @rspb.scotland

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