For the first time in music history, the RSPB (The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) is releasing a single of pure birdsong. The beautiful track features some of our most loved and threatened birds brought together for 2 ½ minutes of pure audio joy. The charity is calling on the public to download, stream and share the single and help get birdsong into the charts for the first time, spreading the word that nature is in crisis and that people across the UK are passionate about its recovery.
Since 1966 the UK has lost over 40,000,000 birds. The destruction of habitats, pollution and climate change is wreaking havoc with our wildlife and decimating our national treasures. It’s harder and harder to hear the sound of the Cuckoo, the purr of a Turtle dove or the melody of a Nightingale. Nature is falling silent.
Let Nature Sing is an ethereal celebration of this music and natural wonder and also a wake-up call to the crisis it faces. The Nightingale is down 90% in the last 50 years. The turtle doves, whose name is derived from their ‘tur-tur’ trim-phone song, are down by 98%. More than half of all skylarks have gone whilst the swift and curlew have become critically endangered.
The track features 25 of the UK’s most beloved birds found across all four countries and a multitude of habitats. It showcases solo divas, such as the blackbird and robin, but also the rhythm section of the great spotted woodpecker and grasshopper warbler. We are blasted by the brass section of duetting cranes, the simple melodies of birds like the great tit, the master-jamming sedge warbler and the incredible booming bass of the bittern.
There is the unexpected, too, such as the bizarre twanging strings of the snipe’s air-harp, whose instrument is its outer tail feathers, activated by plunge-diving from high in the sky and flaring its tail on the descent.
And no track of bird music would be complete without the vocal acrobatics of the nightingale. Although its verses are often short, it displays astonishing musical creativity, plus levels of control and dexterity that most human singers can only aspire to, all combined with punchy volume.
The full incredible line up of birds are the bittern, blackbird, blackcap, chiffchaff, collared dove, coot, crane, cuckoo, curlew, grasshopper warbler, great spotted woodpecker, great tit, lapwing, nightingale, nightjar, robin, skylark, snipe, song thrush, swallow, swift, tawny owl, turtle dove, whitethroat and wren.
These wonderful singers were brought together by the RSPB’s resident birdsong expert Adrian Thomas who recorded them across the UK from 2016- 2019. He was then joined by acclaimed folk singer Sam Lee and music director Bill Barclay to compose these amazing voices into one – creating this audio snapshot of UK nature at its best.
Sam Lee said ‘Birdsong has been one of the biggest influences of English song, poetry and literature. The loss of it should concern us all, because it is a signal that all is not well in the world. We should see birdsong as a barometer for the health of this planet, and hence of ourselves.’
Adrian Thomas adds ‘The bonus of birdsong is that it comes totally free. Our track, as well as being a wake-up call, is really an invitation to go and experience it for yourselves. You only have to step outside your door on a fine spring day and hopefully you will hear some birdsong, but the tragedy is that with each generation we are losing more. We need to cherish it; we need to save it.’
Although the track is not designed to raise funds, and the download price is the minimum permitted under chart rules; any proceeds raised will go to help the charity’s 200 nature reserves around the UK, where a home for the birds featured on the single is created and protected for future generations to enjoy.