I just wanted to write and say Thank You for organising such a great event. As first time participants, unused to such an early start to the day, we were really impressed with the whole event, the leadership of the birders from the VNHS, the variety of birds and the atmosphere and festivities at Dr. Sun Yat–Sen Gardens.
Kitty Castle
Participant, Dawn Chorus 2001
The Dawn Chorus
Related links: Dawn Chorus Plan 2001 and School Outreach

A community event to affirm & celebrate songbirds in the city.

On the first Sunday of every May, people all over the world get up with the birds and listen. It's the Dawn Chorus.

The annual International Dawn Chorus began in England approximately 14 years ago and has since spread to countries throughout the world. In its traditional form, people get up early on the first Sunday in each May, to listen to songbirds and report on the birds counted in their location. These reports are then forwarded to a special registry in the UK.

In 1999, SongBird expanded the concept of the Dawn Chorus and created an outreach strategy to connect with local communities, educating and encouraging citizens in their relationship with their distinct local habitat and fauna. This strategy includes some or all of the following aspects:

Partnerships. Forming working partnerships with arts, environmental, media, industry and community groups whose interests dovetail with the project.

Media strategy. Developing and implementing innovative information dissemination and feedback environments for the interaction of SongBird and our partners with the larger community. One of these environments may be the creation of a youth advisory and participation committee for the annual Dawn Chorus event.

Community listening sites. Assisting with the organisation of early morning listening sites in communities based on the Dawn Chorus template. In 2001 we had 8 sites throughout the Lower Mainland of Vancouver, and in 2002 we added a site in Victoria. Each site is staffed with volunteer ornithologists from local communities to aid in bird identification and to lead the community participants in a bird walk/talk and the urban bird count.

Community dialogue and celebrations. Post listening site gatherings at central locations for songbird-friendly coffee, muffins, a count of the morning's bird sightings, community dialogue and arts events to celebrate our shared environment. Topics of discussion may focus on how urban dwellers can support indigenous birds and their habitats and the best consumer choices to support sustainable living. Arts events may include performances or exhibitions by some of the country’s best professional artists, alongside community, youth groups and/or schools.

These performances and exhibitions are not grand galas. Dawn Chorus Day events, while they may be high profile, are meant to be intimate community events. Rather than focussing on a single large event in one location, we’re interested in community engagement, and in many small events spread over a large area. Our hope is that the event will be picked up and “personalised” by other community groups, thereby spreading the word farther afield. SongBird may act as consultant to these groups and assist as required with event development and set-up, etc. However, our intention is that these events become community driven and directed. SongBird initiated its first Dawn Chorus event in 1999.