Our Bushland Diary

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

the birdwatcher's ear

I love to witness the daily phenomenon called the "dawn chorus".  Strangely, it's not really just at dawn, and it's not a chorus.  "Pre-dawn multi-species polyphony" might be a better description!

About an hour before the sun comes up, the birds start waking up and starting their day; preening, looking around for breakfast, and calling to establish territories and locate the members of their family.  I guess it's the equivalent of people wandering around the house, putting coffee on, preparing some muesli and yoghurt, and saying good morning to each other.

This morning the sun rose at 5:22am, but the birds had been up and calling since at least 4:45am.  I was wandering around on the edge of a Bush Forever Site around 5am.  It was too dark to see the birds, so I had to rely on identifying their calls.

Here are some of the birds I heard in the "dawn chorus", and a rough description of the sounds they make:
Birds seem to me to be louder when it's rainy or overcast, but maybe it's because sound travels further in wet air than in dry air.  (Alternately, it could be that the birds notice the change in the acoustics of their surroundings, and sing louder - much like people do when they discover the acoustics of the bathroom!)

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