Hear Mayo’s dawn chorus

Outdoor Living

Despite its diminutive size, the wren is a surprisingly strong singer.

Ciara Moynihan

Few sounds are more beautiful than the springtime singing of birds as they join voices to create a symphony worthy of greeting the dawning day.
The chorus often starts with the still-sleepy notes of a robin, with blackbird, song thrush and (surprisingly loud) wren soon picking up the tempo. Before long, everything from finches and even pheasants are in full voice – a magical cacophony of sweet tweets, warbles, whistles, clicks and chirps fills the air. The sun has risen and a new day has arrived with suitable fanfare.
Every year, thousands of humans get up early to go outside and immerse themselves in the melodious morning-song. So popular has it become that RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ Lyric FM carry a live broadcast of the dawn chorus annually. This year’s was last Sunday morning, May 1. But don’t panic if you missed it, BirdWatch Ireland also organises dawn chorus walks around the country, and here in Mayo, ours takes place this weekend.
The Mayo branch of Birdwatch Ireland will host a dawn chorus walk this Sunday, May 8,  in Enniscoe Woods (3km south of Crossmolina) starting at 7.30am – a little later than the dawn, but still with plenty to hear. If intending to take part, be sure to bring suitable footwear and warm clothing. The woods are noted for a good variety of birds including jays, warblers, tits and treecreepers among others.
George Keegan, PRO of the Mayo branch, points out that the Enniscoe walk will be a dual accessible event. “Firstly there will be a gentle easy walk to the lakeside, then all participants can decide to return to the heritage centre by the same route or continue on the loop walk through the woodland. This event is open to everyone, young and old, whether a skilled or novice birdwatcher. Refreshments will be available at the end of the walk.”
The Mayo branch of BirdWatch Ireland is also planning two further events in June. On Sunday, June 12, there will be a visit to Downpatrick Head to view birds nesting on the cliff. Then on Wednesday, June 15, there will be a talk on Swifts in a meeting room at the Castlebar Swimming Pool followed by an outdoor observation of the birds (weather permitting). Further details of both events will be announced closer to the time.