Join the dawn chorus at Portmore Lough

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Latest environmental news.

If you’re an early riser you’ve probably been lucky enough to hear the world’s finest sopranos, tenors and baritones taking part in the greatest concert on earth - the dawn chorus.

With International Dawn Chorus Day just around the corner on Sunday, May 3, RSPB NI has issued some tips on the ‘who’s who’ in the choir and how you can tune in to a very special dawn chorus event next weekend.

At times it can seem like the birds in our gardens are in a deafening competition to get their voice heard but there is actually method in the madness and a very definite pecking order. Act one; robins and dunnocks. Act two; blackbirds, song thrushes and skylarks. Act three; chiff chaff, chaffinch, wood pigeon, collared dove. Act four; blue tits, long tailed tit, great tit, goldcrest and tree sparrows

The first birds start to sing about an hour before sunrise, with wrens and robins among the earliest to warm up.

Birds sing extra 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 and hold a territory. With less background noise early on, their song can carry up to twenty times as far.

But if you can’t quite manage to get out of bed to listen to your local dawn chorus, don’t worry, BBC Radio Ulster is joining forces with RTE to broadcast the dawn chorus live on air from midnight on Saturday, May 2 until 7am on Sunday May 3.

Presenter Anne-Marie McAleese will be at Portmore Lough nature reserve outside Moira to link up live with RTE’s Derek Mooney at Cuskinny Marsh Nature Reserve in County Cork. There will also be links with NRK, Norway’s national broadcasting service, and other experts and listeners across Ireland.