On the first Sunday of every May, people all over the world get up with the birds. It's the Dawn Chorus.
The annual International Dawn Chorus began in England and has since spread to countries throughout the world. In its traditional form people gather, walk, listen, look, and report on the birds counted in their location. These reports are then forwarded to the UK.
In 1999, SongBird adapted the concept of the Dawn Chorus and created an annual event in communities throughout the Vancouver Region, encouraging citizens in a relationship with their avian neighbours and distinct local habitats.
Assisting with the organisation of early morning listening sites in communities will have 8 sites throughout the Lower Mainland of Vancouver. Each site is staffed with volunteer ornithologists from the Vancouver Natural History Society to aid in bird identification and to lead the community participants in a bird and urban habitat walk and talk.
Post-listening site gatherings are hosted at central locations for songbird-friendly coffee, muffins, a count of the morning's bird sightings, community dialogue, and performances. Discussion includes how urban dwellers can support indigenous birds and their habitats, and best consumer choices to support sustainable living.
These are not grand affairs. Dawn Chorus Day events, while they may be high profile, are meant to be intimate community engagements. We like many small events spread over a large area. Our hope is that the event template will be picked up by other communities, thereby spreading the word farther afield. SongBird can assist these groups as needed with event development and set-up, etc. However, our intention is that these events become community driven and directed.
Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the Dawn Chorus Celebration at the
Roundhouse on Sunday.
I got the sense that this project really affected everyone who was involved.
I know that I am hearing birdsong differently now. And it was terrific to hear the reports
from the different listening posts.
Dawn Chorus Participant, 1999