The incredible song of Common Nightingale on a spring evening is a real treat. Once you know where to find them and get the timing just right, you'll be rewarded with a performance few other songbirds can match. This superstar of the British summer has an illustrious repertoire that includes at least 250 different phrases: a rich, fluid and melodic warble interspersed with croaking, grunting and high pitched singular notes.
This elaborate act has secured nightingale's place in our culture, with books, music, poetry and theatre all paying tribute to what might otherwise be seen as just a 'little brown job'. Curiously many stories about nightingale refer to the superb songster as female. Indeed it was once thought by naturalists and writers that it was the hen, rather than the male, serenading her mate from deep within the hedgerows.
This lyrical phrasing is now becoming harder to hear as the species' population is crashing: 90 per cent of the UK's nightingales have vanished in the past 50 years, and their range has contracted, confining them to the south and east.Read on