landscape matters volume 3 - Flipbook - Page 36
The Dawn Chorus in Lockdown
The expression The Dawn Chorus was coined as late as 1927 to describe the tapestry of sounds made by birds at the break of day.
Recently, the silence in the skies, through lack of airplanes and road traffic, has allowed birds to take back the airwaves and
many have remarked on the renewed strength of birdsong especially in cities.
The depth and complexity of birdsong is not possible to fully describe in conventional music scores. These marks in another
medium as a tapestry in watercolours attempt to recreate the qualities of different birdsong.
The full range of purposes of the dawn chorus remains a mystery. We know that birds are proclaiming territorial rights,
they are calling to their mates but the huge amount of energy for a Song Thrush, for example, to sing for two or three hours
suggests that birds sing for other reasons too. Of course, The Dawn Chorus has long been a subject for the arts, music and
poetry but there is a theory that birdsong, as well as bringing pleasure to humans, stimulates plant growth. In The Secret
Lives of Plants, Peter Tompkins describes experiments showing that plants respond to certain types of classical music and
goes on to make a possible connection between birdsong and plant growth.
An exhibition of watercolours at the Bankside Gallery, London, in December by Edward Hutchison will celebrate the
The Dawn Chorus and other energies in landscape.