UN Decade of Biodiversity honours DAWN CHORUS
With the new Citizen Science and Arts project www.dawn-chorus.org, thousands of bird voices from all over the world were collected and mapped in a global sound map in the first upload phase in 2020. The project, initiated by the Foundation Arts and Nature and BIOTOPIA, has now been awarded the UN Decade of Biodiversity.
By declaring the years 2011 to 2020 the UN Decade of Biodiversity, the United Nations has called on the world public to support global biodiversity. DAWN CHORUS has now been accepted as an official contribution to the UN Decade of Biodiversity. With the recording of more than 3,500 bird songs, the platform www.dawn-chorus.org makes an important contribution to biodiversity research.
The Bavarian Minister of Science, Bernd Sibler, congratulated DAWN CHORUS on being awarded the UN Decade with a personal greeting: "Birds are of course a biodiversity indicator and this allows conclusions to be drawn about the state of an ecosystem - an expression of climate change - and of course urbanisation. And of course, awareness of the precious diversity on our doorstep is simply increasing. That is why I would like to thank you very much. [...] Thank you very much and congratulations." (See video in German)
"Word Cloud" of identified bird species (in German). Created by Dr. Lisa Gill.
Bernie Krause with employees working on Soundscaping in Nantesbuch (Picture: Thomas Dashuber)
The Covid-19 lockdown silenced the noise of civilization around the world. Rushing traffic, airplanes, industrial noise - all this had come to an almost full standstill and brought the otherwise often drowned out sounds of nature to the foreground. We were experiencing a historical moment that made us stop and consider, feel, and above all hear!
Under the unique circumstances of this memorable spring of 2020, the idea for this Citizen Science project was born - inspired by the work of the American musician, bio-acoustician and artist Bernie Krause, the founding father of soundscaping.
With #DawnChorus (www.dawn-chorus.org) we want to make the birds' voices heard. We want to research their occurrences, follow their population development and make the decline of their biodiversity tangible: The personal contribution of each participant makes this biodiversity research and cultural project possible.
The Citizen Science Platform Dawn Chorus is a project by BIOTOPIA (Bavaria’s new museum of life sciences and environment) and the Foundation Arts and Nature based in the Bavarian foothills of the Alps. The idea for this project was born at very short notice in view of the worldwide Covid-19 lockdown and the unique silence of human civilization at this historic moment.
Shortly before sunrise is when many bird species sing loudest: on the meadow, in the forest, but also in the middle of the city, in gardens, on balconies, in front of windows - everywhere. Everyone with hearing can experience this - adults and children, the healthy and the sick, people all over the world, scientists, laymen or artists.
From May 1 to 31, 2020 the first major survey of bird calls of the DAWN CHORUS took place. Over 3,500 recordings from all over the world were recorded and mapped in the global sound map. They will be included in a scientific database on biodiversity research. From now on, this concentrated collection in spring is to take place every year in May and thus provide important comparative data.
Even after the scientific survey, you can still record the birdcalls in front of your door, upload them on the soundmap and let them sound in the big bird choir. All contributions will flow into the artistic activities around the DAWN CHORUS which will follow the scientific evaluation. Visual representations of the soundscapes, musical settings, works of visual art - artists of all disciplines work on adding additional dimensions to the experience of nature around the birdcalls.
On the 50th anniversary of International Earth Day, BIOTOPIA's founding director Prof. Michael John Gorman interviewed soundscape ecologist Dr. Bernie Krause
They talked aboutthe importance of experiencing biodiversity through the ears, and how tuning into the dawn chorus can alert us to the consequences of climate change, urbanization and deforestation.
Dr. Bernie Krause, Bioacoustician
Prof. Dr. Manfred Gahr, Director, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen