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Record participation in Dawn Chorus: more than 13,500 bird voices collected for biodiversity research

21 June 2022

This year’s participation in the project is outstanding. Since the beginning of the year, more than 13,000 recordings from 46 countries have been uploaded – significantly more than in the last two years combined! Every single one of them helps to expand the collection database, and thus supports experts in their future research on biodiversity. BIOTOPIA and LBV say Thank You to all participants!

Birdsong concert with “Heimatsound”: Bavaria's share of the vote climbs to 65 percent

In the main scientific collection period from May 1 to 31, 2022, more than 10,900 recordings were uploaded. While last year more than three quarters of the submissions came from Germany, this year the share rose to almost 95 percent. The majority of all recordings during the collection period came from Bavaria with almost 7,100 submissions and thus 65 percent of all recordings - last year the share was at 37 percent.

"We are thrilled that with LBV as a new project partner, numerous bird enthusiasts throughout Bavaria were motivated to participate in Dawn Chorus. The great involvement shows that the local birdlife is near and dear to the people in Bavaria and around the world. Sparking curiosity and a willingness to take initiative for the environment is the mission of our emerging museum BIOTOPIA," said Prof. Dr. Michael John Gorman, founding director BIOTOPIA - Natural History Museum of Bavaria.

"We are delighted about the successful cooperation with BIOTOPIA on the Dawn Chorus project. The Bavarians love their birds and have made this year’s collection period the most successful one yet," says LBV Chairman Dr. Norbert Schäffer. "Next to the pure joy of listening to the bird chorus, all participants also make an important contribution to biodiversity research and species conservation."

Overwhelming participation from 46 countries - from Bavaria to Costa Rica.

Since its start in 2020, nearly 21,000 recordings of early morning bird songs and calls have now been collected for the citizen science and arts project Dawn Chorus. The project was initiated by BIOTOPIA – Naturkundemuseum Bayern in cooperation with the Foundation Arts and Nature, with the LBV joining as a project partner in 2022. This year, the response was tremendous, with almost 13,500 recordings uploaded from 46 countries around the world. People took part from far-away countries such as Australia, the USA, the Philippines, India, South Korea, Costa Rica, Jordan, Iran and Egypt.

City versus country challenge - what does our homeland sound like?

The International Day for Biological Diversity on 22/05/2022 was the highlight of the recording period with almost 820 submitted records. The Dawn Chorus “City versus Country Challenge" also took place on this day. Like in 2021, the countryside won the challenge with 52:48 percent of the records. The challenge was established in 2021. The goal is to get as many recordings as possible in one day and from different habitats for scientific comparability. Over the entire collection period in May, however, the city came out ahead once again, with 54 percent of the uploads.

Dawn Chorus goes to school: 28 school classes from all over Bavaria took part

This year, Dawn Chorus also sought to awaken the spirit of research of birdlife among children and young people: in celebration of the International Day for Biological Diversity, the project partners, together with the Bavarian State Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, launched a call for participation at all Bavarian schools. A great raffle as well as video tutorials with Annika Preil, known from "Anna und die wilden Tiere" (Anna and the wild animals), further encouraged numerous young researchers to collect bird songs. A total of 28 school classes from all over Bavaria contributed almost 200 entries.

These schools won the raffle:

1st prize: Gymnasium Miesbach, class 8b, district of Miesbach, Upper Bavaria

2nd prize: Staatliche Realschule Johann-Jakob-Herkomer, class 6c, district of Füssen, Swabia

3rd prize: Bechtsrieth Elementary School, class 4, district Neustadt an der Waldnaab, Upper Palatinate

The Karlsgymnasium München-Pasing, class 6c, also received a special prize for exceptional engagement.

The project is also finding its way into the classroom for the first time: teaching materials specially developed for Dawn Chorus for the 6th grades of Bavarian high schools are intended to sensitize students to species conservation and nature. The teaching material was developed under the direction of BIOTOPIA – Naturkundemuseum Bayern in cooperation with the BISA project of the Department of Didactics of Biology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, with the Max-Planck-Institute for Biological Intelligence, the Museum “Mensch und Natur” (Man and nature), and the LBV. Info: www.biotopia.net/bildung

Personal sound artworks in the Dawn Chorus app

The Dawn Chorus app, developed in 2021, was very popular among participants. On the digital sound map the media art element "Sonic Feather" once again allowed users to transform their records into sound artworks and add creative thoughts and poems to them. These artworks can be admired in the soundmap. In the second half of the year, all those interested in art can also look forward to a variety of events related to bird songs and the sounds of nature.

Important data on bird song and human-made noise.

The intensity and type of noise pollution were also queried for each record. On average, road traffic once again dominated the list of reported noise sources, at 78 %. “We want to raise awareness to the subject of human-made noise: What does your favorite place sound like at different times, for example when people sleep longer on weekends?" asks Dr. Lisa Gill, Dawn Chorus project lead at BIOTOPIA. In fact, there was a big difference: on weekends or local holidays, participants reported about 15 percent less street noise than on normal working days. This year, air traffic seemed to be more prevalent again. "We look forward to examining the data in detail and comparing them to the exceptional years of 2020 and 2021," Gill said.

These bird species were named most frequently by the participants

In the Dawn Chorus app, participants could also list the bird species they recognized by their song during the recording. As in the first two years, the blackbird clearly led the listing with 26 % of the entries, followed by the great tit (10 %), the house sparrow (9 %) and the blackcap (5 %). You can hear what they sound like on the Dawn Chorus soundmap.

Citizen scientists needed for data analysis!

This year, for the first time, Dawn Chorus is also calling on participants who can identify bird species by their songs to help with the analyses. This autumn, citizen scientists and scientists will work together to analyse some of the bird songs. This dataset will be used to train artificial intelligence for future automatic evaluation of the complex morning choruses. In this way, the project will create a robust database for science to understand changes in biodiversity, for example due to changes in climate and habitat conditions. Interested parties can get in touch via the contact form on the website http://www.dawn-chorus.org.

Supporters wanted: Dawn Chorus as a long-term project for species conservation 

We were especially happy about the proportion of multiple participations during the main collection period in May. About three quarters of the app participants took part several times, and almost one fifth even provided ten or more recordings. Some "super users" even made up to 176 recordings during the collection period. The citizen science and arts project Dawn Chorus is a long-term project that thrives on the active participation of many. The crowd-based documentation of the morning chorus over a period of years helps to draw conclusions about the local biodiversity through sound, and to recognize incipient changes at an early stage. The more people participate regularly and over several years, the more meaningful the dataset becomes.

By the way, bird song recordings are also welcome beyond the main collection period and at other times of day. All information about participation, current events and further activities around Dawn Chorus can be found at www.dawn-chorus.org.


Press Release

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