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Locked down? Listen to the chorus of the dawn and help science

Read time: 2 mins
13 May 2020
Locked down? Listen to the chorus of the dawn and help science

A new international citizen science platform wants you to capture birdsongs in the dawn

All around the world, billions are under lockdown, spending a rather silent spring (or fall, if you are in the Southern hemisphere), thanks to COVID19. With humans off the street, and traffic and industrial noise dumbed down, there are incredible stories of nature bouncing back and taking its share. With spring around, the dawn chorus has begun as many birds can now be heard singing. What better opportunity than now to silently sit by your window, and listen to this dawn orchestra? Well, the icing on the cake is you contributing to citizen science by recording these songs on your phone.

Yes, Stiftung Nantesbuch and BIOTOPIA are launching a citizen-science platform that invites all enthusiastic birders to record and share birdsongs every morning, from about one hour before sunrise. Any one can submit their recordings from May 1 until May 22, 2020, which marks the International Day of Biological Diversity.

The platform aims to survey the dawn chorus of birds worldwide, and encourage people to take an interest in protecting their local biodiversity. The data thus collected would then be used for science in understanding, for example, the impact of climate change and other factors on bird biodiversity. This initiative would be repeated at the same time every year to document changes through comparable data, and discover how the voices of the dawn chorus are changing through time.

“We hope to encourage people, even from windows and balconies in city apartments, to make and share recordings of the dawn chorus at this exceptional and challenging time, when human activity is drastically reduced in our cities,” said Michael John Gorman, Founding Director, BIOTOPIA Naturkundemuseum Bayern.

The project is an attempt to effectively combine experience of nature with digital possibilities, scientific contribution and artistic approaches. “This is a particularly fruitful connection when it comes to meeting the great challenges of our time. Dawn Chorus makes us feel that we are all part of a worldwide orchestra of nature and art," said Börries von Notz, Speaker of the board, Stiftung Nantesbuch.

“We, at Science Gallery Bengaluru, are delighted to support Dawn-Chorus and bring the songs of Indian birds to a wider community globally. The lockdown has amplified birdsong in all our lives, and this is a wonderful opportunity for the public to share their favourites. Given the strong birder community across the country, I much hope to see rare and interesting contributions shared with us all,” said Jahnavi Phalkey, Founder Director, Science Gallery Bengaluru.