Letter: Demise of the dawn chorus would be the day that music died

A letter from John Fitzgerald:
The dawn chorus, the outbreak of birdsong at the start of a new day, is a melodic treatThe dawn chorus, the outbreak of birdsong at the start of a new day, is a melodic treat
The dawn chorus, the outbreak of birdsong at the start of a new day, is a melodic treat

“You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”, the Joni Mitchell song mused back in the 1960s. The line comes to mind when I contemplate how the birds have gone a bit quieter in the mornings.

One of nature’s great gifts to us has been the Dawn Chorus, when the birds sing their little hearts out, not especially for our benefit, but we’re the ones who get to hear the great avian symphony as we open our eyes or windows in the morning or step outside into a new day.

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How sad then to notice, and have it confirmed by birdwatchers, that nature’s choir has become depleted, with less of our feathered friends available these days to entertain.

Letter to the editorLetter to the editor
Letter to the editor

So, though we still hear them, there’s less of the goldfinch’s quiet song, the bullfinch’s whistling note, the high pitched song of the goldcrest, or the greenfinch’s exuberant whistle.

The loud shrill of the wren and the blackbird’s soft tweeting is less audible too, and you’d wonder if the robin’s melancholy song has a deeper sadness to it for the times it is in.

It seems that climate change and habitat loss are putting a dampener on our daily melodic treat. Another factor is the continued prevalence of a certain kind of shooter, the one who like to target songbirds.

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Over the years I’ve seen the lead-peppered carcasses of birds in the fields, ditches, and along roadsides.

Little lives quelled for a cheap thrill.

Whether it’s climate change or gunshot that kills a singer, man is the culprit.

Will we allow a cherished wonder of the natural world to become just a distant memory?

The demise of the dawn chorus would be, to quote another song, ‘the day the music died’.

John Fitzgerald, Co Kilkenny