The drop in noise from human activity during lockdown has presented scientists with the amazing opportunity to create the first global public sound map of the spring dawn chorus.
With a quieter world, scientists and artists from the Biotopia Museum in Munich, Germany, have launched a citizen science project called Dawn Chorus and asked the public to record birdsong at sunrise from wherever they live.
Throughout the month of May, around 3,000 of these recordings made on smartphones were uploaded and shared online, all in a bid to help conservation and create public art.
The contribution is particularly important because birdsong provides information about the health, resilience, and biodiversity of a particular place. As scientists involved in the project explain, the collected data can help them assess the current situation of different singing bird species, including their decline or disappearance in certain habitats, and find out how noise from human activity may influence bird song.
What’s more, calling on the general public to contribute allows scientists to reach further afield than they would be capable of otherwise, even if the recordings are not of professional quality.
And aside from contributing to research, projects like this one generates enthusiasm for scientific research and for the natural world that the general public might not otherwise feel.
The time for participation in 2020 has ended, but it will repeat itself every year, so you can mark it in your calendar for May 2021. All recordings are available to the general public and can be used in the creation of art and in the pursuit of scientific learning.