Stauffer’s Marsh Dawn Chorus. Berkeley County WV. 5 May 2009. ©Wil Hershberger.
Ah, The Dawn Chorus . . . As dawn proceeds across the valley of Back Creek, Berkeley County, West Virginia, the residents of Stauffer’s Marsh begin to stir. The eastern sky begins to brighten and the birds begin the ancient ritual of the dawn chorus. Green Frogs, Bullfrogs and Northern Cricket Frogs add a basso accompaniment to the ever changing performance.
Yellow Warblers, Yellowthroated Warblers, Red-winged Blackbirds, Warbling Vireos, Catbirds and the ever present Song Sparrow decorate the glowing eastern sky with their wonderful strains. Much has been studied regarding the dawn chorus. Researchers think that male songbirds are announcing to the world that they did indeed survive the night and are still on their territories. All of this is directed to neighboring males and females within earshot of the singer. Poets postulate that the birds are so full of joy that song just pours forth after a night of silence and repose. Whatever the reason for this phenomenon, I am certainly glad that it exists. What would a spring morning be without the marvelous cascade of notes from our songbird neighbors.
Spring is a time of renewal for the earth and for ourselves. Treat yourself to the exhilaration of the dawn chorus. Get up and outside in a quiet remote area before the sun comes up. Wait quietly, allow your thoughts to drift to the minute sounds coming from the darkness. Allow your audio perspective to expand further and further out into the landscape. As your mind clears of the day-to-day turmoil, you will begin to hear the sounds of the earth and all the creatures that we share it with. As the sky begins to brighten, the songbirds will begin to enchant you with their magic. Take it all in — the magic of the dawn chorus.