BIRDSONG is a wonderful sound at any time of day, but dawn is an extra special time of day to hear birds as they wake up for the new day.

Birds sing extra loudly at dawn because it’s not a good time to go foraging for food. So they focus their efforts at the start of the day on trying to attract a mate and hold a territory.

With less background noise early on, their song can carry up to twenty times as far.

The RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) advises we set the alarm early for the best dawn chorus: it’s best to tune in between 5am and 5.30am – but it adds that we can hear nature’s finest singers throughout the whole morning. Or indeed at any time of day: I cherish childhood memories of hearing (and seeing) skylarks singing high above meadowland.

If you’re out early, you’re likely to hear song thrushes, robins, blackbirds and skylarks.

Wrens and warblers prefer a more leisurely start, and often won’t start singing until the sun comes up. If you’re not sure what you’re hearing, you can use the RSPB Birdsong Identifier at which enables you to listen to birdsong by the UK’s most common songbirds.

Alternatively you can try the BirdNet app. Initially a research project by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, it has now been made available to public.

BirdNET can currently identify around 3,000 of the most common species across Europe and the Americas. It uses the microphone built into a mobile phone to record and identify a bird, as well as time and location information from your phone to narrow down its search to include only those birds likely to be found where you are – clever, eh?

We recently had a worldwide celebration of birdsong, which takes place each year on the first Sunday of May: International Dawn Chorus Day, when we’re invited to set our alarms to appreciate and enjoy the greatest musical concert on the planet.

International Dawn Chorus Day began in the 1980s when broadcaster and environmentalist Chris Baines asked friends to attend his birthday party at 4am in Birmingham so they could enjoy the dawn chorus with him. It has grown from that small event to an annual international celebration, with Dawn Chorus events held as far afield as the Caribbean and Antarctica.

RSPB nature reserves as well as wildlife and nature organisations across the UK are holding special dawn chorus events, when experts identify birds from their songs, and so help nature lovers appreciate the sublime music.

The Surrey Hills Society is holding a Dawn Chorus Walk on Sunday 14 May at Shere Woodland.

The walk is designed to highlight our native woodland birds and to experience the Dawn Chorus that is such a special feature of spring. It says there is a special atmosphere in the wooded glades of this private estate.

Mike Waite – one of Surrey Wildlife Trust’s most experienced ecologists – will take visitors on a walk of about two and a half hours through the beautiful Shere Woodlands, starting at 8am.

It doesn’t really matter where you happen to be or if you can’t identify the birds taking part in the dawn chorus – it’s still a beautiful, natural piece of entertainment. The next time you wake early, try to take time out to enjoy nature’s daily miracle. If you’re not an early riser, listen out for birds singing during the day: it’s always a great tonic!