DAWN CHORUS STORY- DAILY MAIL NEWSPAPER- SEPTEMBER 2008

Record Flintham Andrew Flintham contacted our publicist Jonathan Hartley to ask for publicity about his latest attempts to record the dawn chorus.


During their conversation Jonathan was shocked to hear that traffic pollution had made it impossible to record a full version of the bird song without interruption.


Jonathan spoke to his contacts and the story appears on page three of today's Daily Mail newspaper.


Scroll down to read the full story.

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Composer's lament for 'Lost England' as second Dawn Chorus album is wrecked by traffic noise.

Daily Mail newspaper.

Fifteen years ago, Andrew Flintham made a best-selling recording of the birds which make up the dawn chorus. But like many rock musicians, he has been driven to distraction making that difficult second album.

Asked to repeat the exercise this year for a new CD of British birdsong, he was unable to find the peace and quiet needed to make an unbroken recording of 'nature's alarm clock'.

Mr Flintham, whose Brecklands Dawn Chorus was the biggest-selling wildlife recording of the 1990s, said: 'The microphone picks up lots of background noise you can't hear while you're there.

'When you play it back you find a drone of traffic noise from nearby roads or planes in the distance.

'When we did the Brecklands recording in Norfolk back in 1993, even then I had to go back nine times before I got a full recording.

'In the end I went on a Bank Holiday Monday to get the full 70 minutes as there was less traffic about.

'Since then there's been so many new roads built and more flight paths that I don't believe anyone can get a recording of the dawn chorus in Britain. If anyone can suggest anywhere, I'd be more than grateful.'

Even the wilds of Scotland failed to provide the 90 minutes or so of tranquillity needed to capture a dawn chorus in its entirety.

Mr Flintham, a partner in Norwich-based Overthrill Records, said: 'There are other recordings out there but they tend to be ten-to-15-minute sections knitted together.

A full dawn chorus lasts anything from an hour to an hour and a half. I've been all around East Anglia and even to Scotland for an uninterrupted version of a new dawn chorus but without any luck. One of the biggest problems with noise pollution in Scotland seems to be the military aeroplane training.'

Brecklands Dawn Chorus, which was recorded in a wood at Thompalsoson, near Thetford, included blackbirds, cuckoos, robins, chaffinches, mallards, coots, little grebes and pigeons.



Often bought by town-dwelling wildlife enthusiasts who want to de-stress to the sound of the countryside, it is also used by some bars at 'chucking out time' as it is said to have a calming influence. It has been played in schools, care homes, prisons and restaurants.

Mr Flintham said: 'The original recording has become an audio historical document. It's a piece of Old England that has been lost for ever. I think it's quite sad that one of the most beautiful sounds in nature has been polluted by man.'

He is not the first to lament the decline of the dawn chorus.

Scientists have warned that disrupting the early-morning ritual which males use to attract mates could lead to a decline in the bird population.

Noise pollution also drowns out the sound of approaching predators and blocks warning calls, leaving birds open to danger.

In some urban areas, birds are singing at a higher pitch or louder, to avoid being drowned out. Some robins have even opted to forsake the dawn and sing during the relative quiet of night instead.



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