Which bird will be the first to tweet at Dawn Chorus Day?

European robin Erithacus rubecula, adult in song in spring,
European robin Erithacus rubecula, adult in song in spring,

Portmore Lough nature reserve is hosting a unique event to celebrate the greatest concert on earth - the dawn chorus.

Early risers will be lucky enough to hear the world’s finest sopranos, tenors and baritones.

With International Dawn Chorus Day just around the corner on Sunday, 3 May, RSPB NI has issued some tips on the ‘who’s who’ in the choir and how you can tune in to a very special dawn chorus event next weekend.

At times it can seem like the birds in our gardens are in a deafening competition to get their voice heard but there is actually method in the madness and a very definite pecking order.

Act one; robins and dunnocks. Act two; blackbirds, song thrushes and skylarks. Act three; chiff chaff, chaffinch, wood pigeon, collared dove. Act four; blue tits, long tailed tit, great tit, goldcrest and tree sparrows

The first birds start to sing about an hour before sunrise,

Amy Colvin from RSPB NI said: “The dawn chorus sounds like a frantic free-for-all but actually the singers know exactly when their slot is.”

BBC Radio Ulster is joining forces with RTE to broadcast the dawn chorus live on air from midnight on Saturday, 2 May until 7am on Sunday 3 May. Presenter Anne-Marie McAleese will be at Portmore Lough nature reserve outside Moira to link up live with RTE’s Derek Mooney at Cuskinny Marsh Nature Reserve in County Cork. There will also be links with NRK, Norway’s national broadcasting service.