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Let’s listen for the birds in lockdown!

The coronavirus lockdown in Wales has a surprisingly chirpy bright side.

As the number of vehicles on roads decreases, it’s much easier to hear the songs, twitters and warbling of our feathered friends. For some city-dwellers it might even be the first time they've noticed their varied sounds.

Now one of our campaigners from Llandudno is encouraging people across Wales to share the sounds they can hear from their window, garden or outdoor space with RNIB Connect Radio.

Nicki Cockburn says that learning the different birdsongs is one of life’s greatest simple pleasures.

“I’ve loved birds since I was a child,” she says. “My dad bought me some David Attenborough tapes that taught me the birdsongs you are likely to hear each month in the UK. Whenever we went out, I would learn the names of the birds I could hear.

“After visiting a local bird reserve in 2001 I became a bit obsessed! I’ve been on safari to Zimbabwe and South Africa and learned the birdsongs there, too. I even appeared on Derek Brockway’s Weatherman Walking in 2016 to show him what its like to listen to birdcalls as a blind person.

“Listening to birds is a very accessible hobby. It’s something I can do as well as a sighted person, and sometimes I can even pick up songs that my sighted friends can’t.

“This lockdown is a great time to stop and listen to the world around us, especially since the birds are now singing louder than ever. Why not share those sounds with RNIB Connect Radio and be part of a fun project that everyone can get involved in?”

RNIB Connect Radio is inviting people to share the sounds they are hearing and offers a few tips for recording on a phone: 

  • Hold your phone carefully, as movements can be picked up by the mic.
  • Put your phone into ‘airplane’ mode and mute your notifications. 
  • Record a minute at most on the recorder on your phone and then email it to [email protected].

"Listening to birds can be very relaxing and stress-relieving, especially at a time when people are house-bound,” says Welsh Connection presenter Lynne Morgan. “It's a chance for many of us who live in towns and cities to appreciate sounds that have always been with us, just lost under the noise of everyday urban life."

"We'd love to hear sounds of different birds from different parts of the Wales. We're also featuring interviews about how to identify different birds and hearing from blind bird lovers. We've even had Iolo Williams from BBC's 'Winter Watch' talk to us about birds and give us some tips."