Image Copyright - Jan Haft, Nautilusfilm

When people are silent, nature makes itself heard

The Covid-19 lockdown silences the noise of civilization around the world. Rushing traffic, airplanes, industrial noise - all this has come to an almost full standstill and is bringing the otherwise often drowned out sounds of nature to the foreground. We are experiencing a historical moment that makes us stop and consider, feel, and above all hear!

It is beginning!

From May 1st we are collecting your birdsong recordings for the Dawn Chorus project.

Wake up before sunrise and record the sounds of the birds near your home.

From Friday May 1st, at 12.00pm CET you will be able to upload your recordings on this website.

Under the unique circumstances of this memorable spring of 2020, the idea for this Citizen Science project was born - inspired by the work of the American musician, bio-acoustician and artist Bernie Krause, the founding father of soundscaping.

May 1 – 22, 2020
Share the birdsong on your doorstep with the world and support research and species protection

Shortly before sunrise is when many bird species sing loudest: on the meadow, in the forest, but also in the middle of the city, in gardens, on balconies, in front of windows - everywhere. Everyone with hearing can experience this - adults and children, the healthy and the sick, people all over the world, scientists, laymen or artists.

Get up early, go to the window or outside and listen to the birds. Record the voices with your mobile phones. Upload the recordings on this page and share your experience with people around the world by uploading it to our soundmap.

From May 1 to 22, 2020 we will collect your sound recordings on this platform. Your local recordings will be mapped worldwide. They will be an important contribution to a growing citizen science project to understand biodiversity, which will take place annually from now on, and at the same time be part of a global artistic project.

You will find an instruction how it works here shortly.

Bernie Krause, Soundscaping Pioneer

A healthy landscape is best discerned with one’s ears.

The master class "Soundscaping" is the first cooperation project between the Nantesbuch Cultural Foundation and BIOTOPIA, the new Bavarian Museum of Life Sciences and Environment.

Birds set the tone

Globally, one in eight of the nearly 11,000 known bird species is threatened with extinction. Even in Europe, an alarming loss of species is causing a massive decline in the populations of even non-endangered species such as sparrows and starlings. The birds’ dawn chorus is an important indicator of species diversity and population development at different locations.

With Dawn Chorus we want to make the birds' voices heard. We want to research their occurrences, follow their population development and make the decline of their biodiversity tangible: The personal contribution of each participant makes this biodiversity research and cultural project possible.

Impressions from Nature and Arts

Christoph Brech – Corona Mond

Tom Hull Aka Missing Wolf – The Voices That Wake Us

Marcus Maeder – le langage de la croissance

Dawn Chorus

The Citizen Science Platform Dawn Chorus is a project by BIOTOPIA (Bavaria’s new museum of life sciences and environment) and the Nantesbuch Foundation based in the Bavarian foothills of the Alps. The idea for this project was born at very short notice in view of the worldwide Covid-19 lockdown and the unique silence of human civilization at this historic moment.

Within a very short period of time, people came together in this situation for whom nature is the focus of their work - inspired by the work of the "founding father of soundscaping" Bernie Krause.

Within a few weeks, this new platform is now being created in collaboration with many forces from science, culture and the digital world.


Soundscaping – Sonic landscapes

"Soundscaping" refers to the documentation of the sounds of nature. Amazing insights into the biodiversity of a habitat that go far beyond the naked eye can be gained with this method. One of the founding fathers of this acoustic approach to nature is the American musician and bio-acoustician Bernie Krause, born in Detroit in 1938.

When Krause recorded the sounds of nature around 1975 in order to incorporate them into his compositions, he discovered "the great orchestra of animals" - and discovered his life's theme.

He studied bioacoustics and received his doctorate with a comparative thesis on the voices of killer whales in captivity and in the wild. On his worldwide travels, he collected more than 15,000 so-called field recordings of animal and nature sounds in habitats, i.e. natural habitats.


Silencing nature

Sounds of human origin are also reflected: traffic or aircraft noise impact the sounds of nature. This results in so-called soundscapes, a kind of landscaped sonic field. Krause processes the sounds together with their graphic representation to create completely new representations of nature.

From the totality of these sounds he can grasp the state of the respective habitat and draw conclusions about the development of diversity from the changes in the soundscape over time.

In many places, the repeated recordings reveal a drastic loss of biodiversity: With the advance of civilization, the sounds of nature are becoming increasingly silent.

Dawn Chorus Vögel

Birds are singing ambassadors for biodiversity

The world of birds stands out in the sonic fields and is therefore particularly suitable for bio-acoustic research and soundscaping.

At the same time, birds are particularly important biodiversity indicators. No other group of animals is being researched so extensively on a global scale and can so precisely indicate the "health status" of a habitat, i.e. the status of other species occurring in an ecosystem, as birds.

The earth is in a biodiversity crisis of an enormous scale. Scientists call it the 6th mass extinction event in the history of the earth. Every year, 100-1000 times more species go extinct due to human activities than under natural conditions. Agricultural vertebrate populations, including bird populations, have declined by 60% since 1970.

Birds are particularly affected – 13% of the approximately 11,000 known bird species worldwide are threatened with extinction and populations are declining so massively, especially in Germany and Europe, that one speaks of an alarming loss of birds.

This is reflected in the dawn chorus, beautiful as it may sound. And it is exactly these developments that the Dawn Chorus Project wants to investigate, document, and make use of for the protection of species.

Pass it on

Bernie Krause's work, the "Great Animal Orchestra" makes clear in a very direct and sensual way which treasures are at stake here.

Today, he has made it his most urgent calling to draw attention to this man-made disappearance of species diversity through his work.

In order to lend even more clarity to his plea, he is now seeking contact to art beyond the cooperation with bio-acousticians all over the world. "With art we can deliver our message to a wider audience."

This networking was the aim of a master class in May 2019 Nantesbuch at the invitation of BIOTOPIA and the Nantesbuch Foundation. Renowned researchers and bioacoustics experts, sound, video and digital artists came together to exchange their perspectives and to come up with new results together.

Dawn Chorus is born from this spirit and invites people from all over the world to build a stronger connection to nature through a collective but at the same time very personal experience of nature and the mutual sharing of their local sound recordings, which is ultimately the basis of all efforts to preserve biodiversity. With their local recordings, they make a personal contribution to a growing scientific data collection and morning song mapping and simultaneously become part of a global artistic project.


Become part of a worldwide birdsong for science and the arts.

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Max Planck Institute for Ornithology