ACTIVITY: "Dawn Chorus" from I Love Birds! by Jennifer Ward

In I Love Birds! by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Alexander Vidal, you'll find 52 activities for kids ages 4 to 8 that will engage children's imagination and sense of wonder as they observe birds in the wild. Here's an example of one activity from the book that's perfect for a parent and a child as the weather warms up in the morning this spring.

The Dawn Chorus

Gökotta is a Swedish word that translates to waking up at dawn to hear the first birdsong of the day. In America, we call this musical avian phenomenon the dawn chorus. Spring and summer are perfect times to experience this magical, remarkable sound, as this is the time that birds wake up and establish their territories and sing to attract mates.


Check to determine when sunrise will take place. Then, set your alarm so you and your child wake up at least fifteen minutes prior to sunrise. Once you awaken, make a cup of tea, hot cocoa, or coffee, and grab a blanket to snuggle up with your child if the air outside is chilly. Together, sit outside in the dark. Be mindful as you sit: Feel the air on your face. Listen to how loud the stillness and quiet-dark of a new day may sound. Enjoy the calmness and serenity of the planet, of everything around you. There’s nowhere to rush to, just you and your child, sitting in the moment. Listening. Waiting, in the silent, sleepy world.

Soon, the call of just one bird will pierce the air and stillness.

First one call. Followed by another. And then another and another. Behold as sounds and calls coming from each and every direction fill the air. As the day lightens and the world awakens, the chorus will fade. Throughout the day, you and your child may make note of daily birdcalls, sounds, and songs. They will be present but nothing like that of the dawn chorus.

Download a special I Love Birds! poster here.