Join the Dawn Chorus: when, where and how?

WHERE: Find your favourite spot, and make sure to record its bird songs over many years, at around the same date and time! This allows documenting and researching the local state of bird biodiversity. If you listen and watch closely, you will surely become aware of any changes your special place may undergo, such as deforestation, construction or even renaturation measures, and can let us know in the comment section.

WHEN: We collect songs of the Dawn Chorus, which means sound recordings made ideally between one hour before dawn until one hour after sunrise – which is when most bird species are especially active vocally. Because different species begin their songs at different times of the day, the concert’s sound changes over each morning. A single Dawn Chorus recording thus represents merely a brief moment in time, a tiny little puzzle piece. You can help us complete the picture by uploading multiple recordings per morning. For this, we developed the “3-in-1” recording function for the Dawn Chorus App which allows you to make three recordings automatically while entering the data only once.

For a better comparability of the data, our main data collection period always takes place in May. Recordings outside of this period are also welcome.

If you are especially motivated, you can contribute to a study on human-made noise by making a recording on a local holiday and an adjacent normal working day, at around the same time relative to sunrise. Let the Dawn Chorus App show you the best time window for making a recording at your location for the next couple of days.

Create beautiful and scientifically approved bird song recordings with the Dawn Chorus App!

The free Dawn Chorus App invites you and people worldwide to make an important contribution to biodiversity research by recording and sharing the early-morning concert. Become a citizen artist and turn your recording into your own piece of art using „Sonic Feather“.

The app is available for iOS and Android (for smartphones with Android version 8 / iOS version 11 or higher):

Of course you can also still upload your recordings via our website upload form.

Tagging and flagging:  Now users can really get involved, by liking or reporting records. We’ve also built in a new function with which users can query the species in submitted recordings, and suggest alternative species. Humans are still much better than machines when it comes to detecting species in complex sound recording such as the dawn chorus. With this new feature we want to include bird enthusiasts worldwide to help us listening in – stay tuned!

Dawn Timings: Now you can let the app locate you, to show you the ideal daily time window for making your Dawn Chorus recordings during the next few days. Especially by making recordings at the same place at roughly the same time (with respect to sunrise) across multiple days, users can greatly help to improve the scientific robustness of the collected data.

Express Recordings: We realise that getting up at dawn can be really challenging. Now users can triple their contribution by tapping the 3-in-1 recording button (and even take another snooze). The app will automatically collect three recordings during 30 minutes, without users needing to enter all the data again. Because birds start singing at different times during the dawn chorus this “repeated-measures design” helps us to better evaluate species composition at the different Dawn Chorus locations.

Project Stats: Under Account, users can see how many records have been uploaded so far – by the users and by the project community: overall, on Working days versus Holidays and Weekends, and in City versus Countryside habitats. This year, the City versus Countryside was a full success, so stay tuned for more challenges in May 2022!

Let’s get started: use the Dawn Chorus App to record your concert

Get ready

To make sure your morning recording session will be relaxed we recommend you register and familiarize yourself a little with the app beforehand.

Next, choose your spot from where you would like to make your recording(s). This can be in front of your window, in your garden, or any other favorite spot. Just preferably a place you can easily return to for repeated sound recordings.

Let the app show you the time of dawn and sunrise at your location. Set your alarm clock accordingly and get up early.


Make your recording

We recommend placing your smartphone on a stable surface, and start the automatic 1-minute recording process. You have a few seconds to step away. Now it’s time to be very quiet. Holding the phone in your hand during the recording may cause unintentional noise.

The 3-in-1 recording function of the app makes three recordings automatically, spread evenly across a time period of 30 minutes. Bonus: you only need to enter the data once – and you can go and have a little snooze while the app does the work.

Additional Information

We then ask you a few additional questions for science

  • Weather: the local weather conditions may influence bird song – and can be quite different from what weather apps tell us.
  • Habitat: We want to know more about the environment of your Dawn Chorus recording (e.g. city versus forest).
  • Noise: Do you hear human-made or loud natural noise? These too can influence bird song but can’t be analysed reliably from the sound recordings.
  • Holiday/working day: The world may sound quite differently on a normal working day compared to a local holiday, at roughly the same time, especially in cities. Do you hear a difference?

Bird species

Currently, the Dawn Chorus App isn’t able to identify bird species. If you were able to identifiy the bird species singing in your recording you can enter them here. The app now also allows others to query this information and to suggest alternative species.

Soon, we want to build a database of identified Dawn Chorus songs, together with bird experts amongst you.

This information is crucial for the difficult task of teaching computer algorithms how to identify individual bird species during the complex dawn concert. Read more about science and bird song.

Get creative!

You can upload a photo of your recording location to share your Dawn Chorus experience. You can also use this photo to create your “Sonic Feather”.

Did the early-morning experience inspire you? Leave a poem, a story or just a sentence about your experience.

Use the digital art feature „Sonic Feather” to turn sound into art!

Read more about Sonic Feather.

Share and spread the word

Right after uploading, you can find your record as part of the bird concert on the global sound map, either on the map itself, or in the tile view.

You can share your contribution with your friends via Facebook, Instagram, or directly via a link.

If you prefer, the app also allows you to upload your recordings purely for the scientific study, and hide them on the publicly visible soundmap.

If you don’t have a smartphone, or if you have great recording equipment that you would prefer to use instead of your smartphone, you are welcome to upload the recordings via the website form. Please note, however, that we absolutely need unfiltered, uncompressed recordings in .wav format, with a minimum recording quality of 44.1 kHz and 16 bit. For technical reasons, the recordings must not be too large (see below for details). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us via the contact form.

Instructions for uploading your birdsong via webform

Find out at what time the sun currently rises in your region (e.g. via the weather app on your smartphone or here). Choose a recording location near you. This could be your window, balcony or garden, a park, meadow or forest near you. Find the audio recording function on your phone and familiarize yourself with it. Set your alarm. A great time to start listening to the concert is around 30 minutes before sunrise.


Get up very early and be at the recording location about 30 minutes before sunrise. Place your recording equipment on a solid surface or tripod, protected from wind and rain, and aim the microphone at the birdsong. Activate the Airplane Mode on your phone and start recording via the audio recording function. Then walk away and be very quiet during the recording. Record 30 to 90 seconds of sound, and retrieve device. Stop the recording. Note time, temperature and other factors, that you will be asked in the upload form later. Ideally, you should make several recordings at intervals of 10-15 minutes. The individual files should not be larger than 20 Mbyte.

After you have saved your soundscapes, check if the bird calls are well audible. Trim off disturbing noises at the beginning and end if necessary or possible but do not use any filters. Upload your finished recordings using the upload form on this page. It is possible to upload several files at once. Use the upload form to provide important information about your recording. It is essential for scientific usability. Attach a picture of your recording location so that others can see in which environment your recordings were produced.

You can also add texts such as poems or thoughts that are related to your recording. In this way, you will also create a valuable collection of creative content which will later be incorporated into artistic projects surrounding the DAWN CHORUS.

Immediately after the upload you can find your birdsong on the worldwide Soundmap and as a part of the great Chorus. With the birdsong_number you can easily search for your recording among all the others.

Share your recording via Facebook, Twitter or a link with your family and friends.

The Dawn Chorus City versus Countryside Challenge

Colourful meadows, humming insects and rich dawn chorus songs only exist in the countryside? Cities are concrete deserts? Not really!

In many places of the world wildlife actually retreats in to areas dominated by humans, even large cities, with biodiversity there sometimes exceeding that of the surrounding areas.

In 2020 and 2021, the majority of the Dawn Chorus records came from highly populated areas. Therefore, to make the data more comparable, and to draw our participants’ attention to biodiversity in the city and the countryside, we launched the “City versus Countryside Challenge” in 2021. And guess what: on this day, the ratio was  reversed, and most recordings came from the countryside.

In celebration of the International Day for Biological Diversity, we launched our second Dawn Chorus City versus Countryside Challenge on 22nd of May ’22. Counting close to 820 recordings, this was an immensely successful collection day!

This year, once more, the countryside won the City versus Countryside Challenge, and again, the city provided more recordings than the countryside throughout the entire month of May. What we find interesting, though, is that overall, the countryside recordings seem to be catching up. One of the reasons for this could be that travel bans and nocturnal curfews aren’t currently in place in most parts of the world, giving our participants the possibility to move away further from home to make a recording.

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