Birds turnup the dawn chorus

5 May 2020 01:54
Published by: Scott Callan

Are the birds singing louder this spring? It’s a question being sprung on conservationists as the UK’s lockdown continues.

Alan Wright, campaigns manager at the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, believes the reduction in noise pollution makes it seem so – along with the fact people have more time to listen to the sounds of local wildlife.

He says: “If you listen to the sound of the dawn chorus this week, wildlife doesn’t seem to be missing us at all.”

He adds: “There are two factors involved here, we believe. The lack of noise pollution from fewer vehicles being on the road is definitely opening up gaps for our wild birds to really let rip this year, as they are looking for love on their patch.

“And people have time to notice wild sights and sounds. Blackbirds, robins, great tits and wrens seem extra loud.”

Conservationists are not underestimating the tragic human cost of coronavirus but believe lessons could be learned from the emergency measures introduced.

Alan says: “I really hope we are learning from this crisis. Many lives have been lost as the virus has spread but I am sure the health measures have helped to save many thousands of people.

“And we shouldn’t be afraid to mention this knock-on effect on that is benefiting our wildlife. Let’s hope we can look at this and improve the way we live in the future in a way that supports nature.

“The songs of thrush and robin are filling the early mornings with sound. In some cases, it might just be that we are noticing the birdsong more as the noise from vehicles and general hubbub has turned down its volume.

“I certainly think that many people go through their lives without noticing some of the wonderful noises and the creatures making those noises around them.”

Many wildlife experts also believe that the lessening in pollution, globally, is also affecting animal behaviour.

Alan said: “Our swallows and swifts are now flying back into urban areas which have always had problems with fumes from cars and industry. They are breathing fresher air into their little lungs, which can only be good for them.”

It will also mean that litter is reduced in our towns and in the countryside. Again, experts are saying that litter in our rivers and lakes will be less, because there is nobody there to dump it.

And even the seas will benefit from a short period away from human waste. Will it make a difference to how we live our lives in the future?

Alan says: “I was walking along a river bank the other day and I thought, cleaner rivers and streams will be much better for our iconic kingfishers, one of our most colourful birds. They will be feeding in cleaner water at the moment.

“And for the third day running I watched and listened to noisy curlew flying over my garden. These are the sights and sounds we should all be seeing every day.”

The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside is part of the Wildlife Trusts, the UK’s biggest conservation charity. In the North West, the Wildlife Trust has more than 30,000 members who support its work in creating Nature Recovery Networks both here and across the United Kingdom.


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