About Dawn Chorus

In early 2020 our species witnessed an unprecedented disruption to public life as we knew it: the “Silent Spring”. This early phase of the Covid pandemic marked the beginning of a time of hardship for millions of humans. This stage of the crisis was also associated with a sudden and profound quietness: cities, airports and industrial areas suddenly stood still, and there were a number of anecdotal reports of wildlife reclaiming territory otherwise occupied by humans. All the sounds resulting from busy human activity that we had grown so accustomed seemed to drone down, and cleared the stage for the sounds of nature. At the same time, travel bans and stay-at-home policies in many countries of the world forced us to pay more attention to the things in front of our own doorsteps.

A brief moment of silence to let nature’s voice be heard

During this brief moment of silence, project Dawn Chorus was brought to life by BIOTOPIA – Naturkundemuseum Bayern and the Foundation Arts and Nature (Nantesbuch), with support from the Max Planck Society. During an extremely short timeframe, a number of people came together to launch the project, inspired by the works of „father of soundscaping“, bioacoustician and musician, Bernie Krause (The Doors“, Frank Zappa, „The Weavers“). Since then, Dawn Chorus invites people from all across the globe to experience and to record the morning concert, to help make nature’s voice be heard. From 2022 with a new strong project partner, Landesbund für Vogelschutz in Bayern (LBV).

 „A healthy landscape

is best seen with the ears.“

Bernie Krause, Soundscaping Pioneer, during Masterclass with BIOTOPIA and Foundation Arts and Nature (2019)


Currently, we and our planet find ourselves in the midst of a massive biodiversity crisis, referred to Earth’s 6th mass extinction event. The numbers of land vertebrates dropped by 60% since 1970. Birds in particular are strongly affected, and their numbers are plummeting at an alarming rate, especially in Germany and other European countries.

As beautiful as the Dawn Chorus may sound, it clearly shows us the loss of species through our ears – if we just listen.

“Soundscaping“ refers to the documentation of environmental sounds: together, birds, insects, amphibians, as well as rivers, waterfalls or swaying tree tops draw an acoustic image of their environment. Of course, sounds of human origin play a role too, as human-made noises like road or air traffic change the acoustic properties of the environment.
Sometimes soundscapes change suddenly and drastically. A painful experience that Krause made in the 1980s when recording sounds of a Californian forest before and after it was cut down. Despite reforestation measures, most bird species disappeared from the acoustic picture, even years later. Other changes occur more slowly, such as the increase of road traffic and its resulting noise.

Birds as singing ambassadors to biodiversity

Many bird species are so-called indicator species as they provide information about different properties of a habitat. Long-term collections of early-morning bird sound recordings can thus help us to detect changes in habitats, for example by telling us where species disappear or appear, or how birds change their behaviour.
The scientific goal of Dawn Chorus is to document bird diversity over time using sound recordings through the help of citizen scientists. This “acoustic biomonitoring” data helps to discover changes in biodiversity (read more). For scientific comparability, the free Dawn Chorus App for Android and iOS was developed in 2021. The main scientific data collection period always takes place in May.

Not just another Citizen Science project

But the Dawn Chorus Project goes beyond what more traditional citizen science projects are about: nature sounds are also a source of inspiration for creative processes, and the more we humans engage with nature and listen to her, the more we become aware of changes. Dawn Chorus invites everyone to dive deeper into the sounds of nature: explore bird concerts across the world without travelling, prove birding skills by adding acoustically recognised bird species, learn more about science and bird song, get inspired by arts around Dawn Chorus, or get creative and upload a photo or poem, or transform sound into art through “Sonic Feather“!

By connection nature experience, science, art, and the growing community of bird enthusiasts in Bavaria and around the world, Dawn Chorus touches us in a creative and emotional way, across national borders and educational differences, to create awareness around the wonders and also the threats of nature.

The Dawn Chorus App

The Dawn Chorus app was developed in 2021 to simplify the recording process, to increase and standardise the scientific quality of the audio recordings, while at the same time providing room for creativity and arts.

 Learn more about the app >

The Dawn Chorus app is available for free for Android and iOS:

The former Bavarian Minister of Science and Arts Bernd Sibler about the Citizen Science and Arts Project Dawn Chorus 2021:


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Video Trailer for the Kick-Off of Dawn Chorus in 2020:


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Dawn Chorus was co-initiated by

Dr. Bernie Krause
Soundscape ecologist & musician, California, USA

Prof. Kathrin Böhning-Gaese
Senckenberg Gesellschaft, Frankfurt (Main), Germany

Prof. Manfred Gahr
Department of Behavioural Neurobiology
Director of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Intelligence (in foundation), Seewiesen, Germany

Dr. Dan Stowell
Tilburg University & Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, Netherlands

Dr. Moritz Hertel
Department of Behavioural Neurobiology
Max Planck Institute for Biological Intelligence (in foundation), Seewiesen, Germany

Dr. Henrik Brumm
Research Group Animal Communication and Urban Ecology
Max Planck Institute for Biological Intelligence (in foundation), Seewiesen, Germany

Dr. Tereza Petruskova
Department of Ecology
Charles University, Prage, Czech Republic

Prof. Michael Scherer-Lorenzen
University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany