One of my favorite wonders of nature is the dawn chorus: a gradual crescendo of bird song that begins an hour or so before sunrise. With special permission, I entered Earth Sanctuary at 4:30 a.m. on May 31st, 2007 to record this phenomenon. The recording begins about 20 minutes into the dawn chorus and lasts 54 minutes. Click here to listen (streaming MP3) here to download the MP3.
WHY THE DAWN CHORUS?
The reason birds sing at this time of day is not known for certain. It is a time when they are awake but perhaps not yet ready to find food. It is the males who sing, probably to declare their territory and attract potential mates. The stillness of the early morning air helps their songs to travel better than later in the day. Singing during these lowlight hours helps the birds avoid being seen by predators.
SEQUENCE OF SONG
If you listen closely, you will notice the different bird songs enter sequentially. From day to day, the order of species singing is the same. Research suggests the first twitters are from those birds with the best low-light vision.
This recording was made using a homemade 24″ fiberglass parabolic reflector to concentrate and amplify the sound into a stereo condensor microphone (Audio Technica AT822). The signal was recorded onto a Sony PCM-M1 portable digital audio tape (DAT) recorder. The recording was then digitally edited using Adobe Audition 1.5 software to optimize the signal level, remove a few short passages of severe road traffic noise, and create an MP3 file for web streaming (compression: MP3 Pro, 96kbps).
Marc Hoffman is a nature enthusiast, bird photographer, and musician who resides in Kirkland, Washington. He operates Poison Dart Frog Media (http://www.dartfrogmedia.com/), a company specializing in Flash interactive web animation. Marc welcomes you to contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.