Lessons Updated: All of our lesson plans have been updated for the 2015/2016 academic year.

Contributors Wanted: If you’d like to help add to our website & teaching materials please contact us.

Match the Birdsong

Click the button on the right and you will hear what many people think is a beautiful sound: birdsong on a summer’s morning. This is actually a part of what is called ‘the Dawn Chorus’, that time of the morning when it is just getting light, and all of the birds begin their singing for the day.

When we listen out for it, we can hear birds singing a lot of the time. We hear lots of birds singing, but can we tell them apart? The fact is that every type or species of bird – and there are over 500 in Britain – has its own distinctive voice, and with practice you can learn to tell them apart.

Press the button beneath each picture to hear each bird’s very special and particular voice. Do you recognise any from your own garden, school or neighbourhood?

to hear a lot of different birds singing together press here
      answers
sparrow
      sparrow
blackbird
      blackbird
starling
      Starling - ermine
crow
      crow
robin
      robin
tawny owl
      tawnyowl
magpie
      magpie
thrush
      thrush
wood pigeon
      Columba palumbus
cuckoo
      cuckoo

As you can hear each type of bird really does sing in its own special voice. Listen to the difference between the sweet trilling of the robin, the throaty throbbing of the pigeon, and the cheerful chitter-chatter of the sparrow.

Bird song has lots of different purposes, and bird calls can have particular meaning related to such important things as flight, feeding, nesting, alarm and warning, and territorial defence – which means telling other birds to keep away!

Most bird songs or calls are short and simple, but they can be very long and complicated – with as many as 80 notes per second. Young birds sing begging songs – the louder and more intensely they call, the more their parents feed them. Most birds stand still to sing and very often in a favourite spot. That means that if you hear a bird song and follow it very carefully – and quietly – and slowly – you should be able to find the singer.

When you have listened very carefully to all these different bird songs, you are ready to take our super tricky birdsong test. We have put together a recording of lots of these bird songs one after the other, plus one or two others thrown in. So grab a pencil and paper, press the button below, lesson really hard, and see how well you do!

to see how well you can now Match the Birdsong press here
      answers
to check your answers press here
back to games and activities