Sunday 6th May 2018 is International Dawn Chorus Day, this is an annual celebration of (and the perfect opportunity to get out and enjoy) nature’s symphony.  Forth reserves Warden, Allison Leonard, tells us a bit more about the dawn chorus and where you can find our more.

This is without a doubt my favourite time of year, what’s better than waking up to a song thrush belting out his phrases on repeat or listening to a skylark sing from on high? Ramping up from early April and peaking in June, the dawn chorus a cacophony of sound heralding that spring is here.  Each bird has it’s own unique song and the variation, from the melodic blackbird to the cooing stock dove and even the slightly odd sounding grasshopper warbler, is amazing.  Even common birds like blackbirds and robins have the most glorious songs, but these twitterings aren’t for our benefit at all. In fact they are a way for male birds to protect their territories and attract a mate but why do they sing with such vigor at dawn? 

There are several theories as to why birds are much louder and livelier at dawn. One theory is that singing is a show of strength from the males, they are simply telling the females that they are so fit and healthy they don’t need to worry about feeding straight away.  It could also be that the low light levels at that time of day make it difficult to feed with small insects being hard to see or that the still air means the songs carry up to 20 times further at that time of day, making the song more effective.  Whatever the reason, it’s sure that this is a special time of year that inspires many people

This year, the RSPB is running lots of events around the country to celebrate International Dawn Chorus Day including three in our area. So, if you are interested in learning a bit more about bird song or quite simply want to enjoy nature’s symphony why not checkout one of our events, it will be worth the early start and with breakfast thrown in with most of our events, I think it is a very civilised way to start your day.

Check out the RSPB’s events page at for details of more events.


Dawn Chorus Wetland Wander at RSPB Black Devon Wetlands Saturday 5th May

5:30am - 7:30am

Adults £4, children £2, RSPB members 20% discount. Booking essential

May is the best time of year to hear the dawn chorus in its full glory. It’s an early start but you’re rewarded by a symphony of bird song and some helpful guidance from RSPB staff. This guided walk will be enjoyable for those with any level of knowledge of birds and wildlife, including older children. It is also a wonderful opportunity to explore one of RSPB Scotland’s newest reserves and discover more about the fascinating wildlife found on site. The walk will take in the new path network and viewing screen, providing marvelous views over the wetland pools.

This gentle 1.5-2hr stroll will take place on paths, some well surfaced and some less so. Sturdy boots should be worn as well as warm layers. The walk will end in the viewing screen, where you will be provided with a hot drink and light refreshments to tide you over until a well-deserved breakfast back at home!

Call 01324 832853 to book or for more information or email

Wake up to the Dawn Chorus! Sunday 6th May

5:30am – 8am

The Queen Elizabeth Forest is at the edge of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Its home to some of Scotland’s most iconic and rare species including red squirrel, pine martin and ospreys. With so many accessible woodland walks, mountain hikes and adventures on the lochs, it’s a great place to come and enjoy nature and experience Scotland’s incredible scenery.


The RSPB have teamed up the Forestry Commission Scotland to encourage people to experience this incredible place through song. The peace and tranquillity of Queen Elizabeth Forest is only interrupted by the sound of the rushing waterfall and the chorus of woodland birds. Hear their song rise with the sun at the Dawn Chorus event held at the Forest Lodge in Aberfoyle. Enjoy a gentle stroll through the woodland, guided by RSPB staff, listen for yaffling green woodpeckers, the repetitive melodic tune of song thrushes, and our summer migrants, like wood warbler, blackcap and redstart. See the red squirrels jumping from branch to branch, and perhaps sneak a glimpse of the elusive pine martin looking for its next meal. To top it off, enjoy a hot filled roll of your choosing to start the day and to end a great morning.

Adults £7, Children / RSPB Members £5.50. Booking essential

Contact 0300 067 6615 to book or for more information.
Or e-mail:


Bluebells & Birdsong at RSPB Loch Lomond Sunday 27th May


The woodlands at RSPB Scotland Loch Lomond in May are filled with sweet smelling bluebells and beautiful birdsong and a morning walk here is the perfect start to the day. The Loch Lomond team will take you along the trails and onto the reserve, listening out for the summer visitors on their return from Africa and some woodland favourites. Wellies are recommended and booking is necessary. For more information and bookings please contact the Loch Lomond team on 01389 830 670 or

Cost £7, £5.50 for members. Booking essential