This was is the reprint of a feature about us and our project, recently published by The, from whom we were pleased to receive seed funding to help us set up our Dawn Chorus Live Project:

Nichola Andersen and Swenson Kearey live adjacent to SSSI woodland in Cornwall. The area is home to a large variety of birds including owls, buzzards, woodpeckers, blue, coal, great and long tailed tits, nuthatches and finches and many species from the RSPB Red List. They have been getting out of bed and recording the dawn chorus since the Winter’s Solstice.

As dawn gets earlier and earlier, they wanted to find a way to automate the process. Their idea is to develop and install an automated recording and live streaming system using a Raspberry Pi platform in 4 different Cornwall locations. They will start by building and testing everything (including weather proofing!) in their home location followed by the other 3 sites. Obviously, recording birds isn’t a novel idea but a daily record of birdsong recorded continuously over years from several places across a region, published on-line for others to use is novel and requires automation.

Nichola and Swenson’s aim is for their automated recording and streaming system to help people connect with and enjoy the sounds of nature in Cornwall via audio wherever they live. Research is showing that this can be just as effective as actually being outside and birdsong or the sounds of nature can increase happiness and well-being by up to 30%.

But quality data of this kind collected in selected locations over long periods of time is also of interest to academic, wildlife and ecology researchers so the plan is for this to serve as a Citizen Science project.

As their project progresses, we look forward to hearing birdsong from Cornwall as well as learning what the continuously collected data might tell us about bird populations over time.

We plan to reopen the ‘I’ve got an idea Fund’ for a 4th round in July. Updates will appear here.