ANYONE awakened by bird song this morning should cherish the moment.
For the dawn chorus, inspiration of poets and composers down the years, is losing its virtuoso performers.
While town birds are increasing the decibels to compete with urban noise, the countryside is slipping slowly towards an eerie silence.
Many of the iconic birds whose mating calls ring out across woodlands and open fields during early May are vanishing at an alarming rate.
The sounds of the cuckoo, nightingale and turtle dove are enshrined in British folklore, but as bird lovers rise today to celebrate International Dawn Chorus Day, there are fears that there will be fewer birds of fewer types and fewer songs with each passing year.
The recently released State of the UK’s Birds report reveals that the populations of both summer migrants and many resident species have declined over recent years.
Cuckoos and nightingales have declined by 62 per cent and 52 per cent respectively since the Nineties, while there are a startling 93 per cent fewer turtle doves since the Seventies. Other key choristers such as the willow warbler, skylark and dunnock are also disappearing.