“The dawn chorus may sound like a frantic shouting match with the most beautiful voices but actually the singers know exactly when their slot is and if you listen regularly you will start to recognise certain species habitually starting before others,” says RSPB wildlife expert Ben Andrew.
“If you don't know what those species are now it's your chance to learn even just a couple of them – it's still the most melodic, clever, natural piece of audio entertainment you'll hear, and best of all, it happens every day!
“The louder your dawn chorus the more proud you can be of your efforts to give nature a home too. If you're providing food, water and shelter, it is bound to make their voices as strong as possible!”
In areas closer to the Equator, breeding can be spread throughout the year and annual song cycles are harder to detect. But in zones further away from the tropics like Britain, birds singing is one of the most characteristic sound of spring.
Birds sing so loudly at dawn because it's not a good time to go foraging for food - so they focus their efforts at the start of the day on trying to attract a mate instead. Dawn is also a good time to hold a territory. With less background noise early on, their song can carry up to 20 times as far.
Singing is hard work, so it is usually the fittest, best-fed males who sing the loudest. In many cases, once a female has been serenaded, the male will sing less often as his work is done.
If you want to listen to a dawn chorus you need to be up before sunrise. A number of dawn chorus events are being held on RSPB nature reserves around the UK in the coming weeks. For more information visit www.rspb.org.uk.