Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Dawn Chorus and Life Forces

by Cornelis van Dalen

Some call it cacophony and are driven to madness; others find it the most beautiful event in all of creation – the dawn chorus of the birds. Especially in spring, before the sun’s morning rays light the heavens, the birds begin to sing. First one, then another, and finally all together singing to their heart’s content, if one can use such an expression. Each country has its own song where the species of birds differ; I shall never forget dawn chorus in the subtropical bush of northern New South Wales, Australia. Enchanting, dear Angela and Ian!

Here in southern England the bird life is especially prevalent in our locality. I have long admired the Blackbird Turdus merula for his song, yet after the summer solstice he gradually ceases to sing so regularly. This is also true for the Song Thrush Turdus musicus, often called England’s finest singer.

The song of the various birds is most beautiful and one must ask why they sing. The Rev. F.O. Morris in writing of the Nightingale says it ‘loves a neighbourhood where there is an echo, as if aware of and admiring its own music.’ [1] Or is the Nightingale in that locality to enhance the effects of the music? Music! Here is our clue.

In the book A Pilgrimage with the Animals [2] Dr Lascelles introduces us to the subtle nature of animals, and points to our failure to understand them as spiritual beings having a role and function in the labyrinth of life. “I want you to think of what you call the dawn chorus of the birds, that strange moment of nature just before the morning light seeps through. Suddenly, as you may have noticed if you have been lying awake, every bird in the neighbourhood breaks into song as though obeying some signal. For a time, while it is dark, the air is filled with orchestrated sound – the triumphant, challenging and positive sound of birds in song.”

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This article has been reprinted with written permission of the author.

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