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Rewild your morning: Free Birdsong Radio app from the RSPB celebrates glorious UK birdlife

June 2019

Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos. Credit: Craig Churchill, RSPB images
Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos. Credit: Craig Churchill, RSPB images

  • Free radio app will transmit continuous loop of ambient birdsong, featuring red-listed species turtle dove, nightingale and curlew
  • Let Nature Sing pure birdsong single reached No 18 in the UK charts last month
  • 40 million birds have disappeared from UK skies in just 50 years and over half of UK nature is in decline

To thank supporters of the RSPB’s Let Nature Sing campaign, which saw the first ever release of pure birdsong reach UK charts, the charity is launching a free birdsong radio app- RSPB Birdsong Radio.

Listening to the soft, sweet melodies of bird song is a sublime experience like no other.

Even as the seasonal dawn chorus fades, wildlife enthusiasts can revel in the sound of birdsong as the RSPB is releasing a new radio app to celebrate the success of a campaign to highlight the shocking loss of over 40 million birds from the UK in 50 years.

RSPB research carried out earlier this year showed despite the fact one in ten wildlife UK species are critically endangered, just 15 per cent of people realise nature is in crisis.

In fact, over a quarter of the UK believes nature is doing well. The reality is that 56 per cent of species in the UK are in decline and our natural world is facing an immediate crisis.

Let Nature Sing was an arrangement of some of the UK’s most loved and most threatened bird songs, created to raise awareness of the cost of doing nothing to stop the disaster facing nature, which is pushing many UK birds towards extinction.

The public support was overwhelming, smashing our expectations; Let Nature Sing reached No 18 in the charts, more than 23,000 people downloaded the track and the message got through.

Our birdsong app is inspired by the popular former Radio Birdsong, a broadcast of layered bird calls and country sounds used as a test transmission for Classic FM and for digital radio stations during the 90s and 00s. At its peak it was thought to have 500,000 weekly listeners and its removal was met with widespread public outcry and media coverage. 

RSPB’s Adrian Thomas, who recorded the main 35-minute birdsong loop you can hear on the RSPB Birdsong Radio app, said : “We wanted to create a gentle, ambient background chorus of some of our most-loved and seriously endangered birds to take listeners on an uplifting walk through the countryside.
“People take bird song for granted but our skies are slowly falling silent. Countryside ramblers would struggle to hear the songs of some of the most beautiful birds on the track now.”

Radio engineer and broadcaster Quentin Howard, who founded the original Radio Birdsong and helped develop RSPB Birdsong Radio, said there was a public outcry when Digital One decided to remove Radio Birdsong in favour of music from unsigned bands.

He said: “Listener response was always amazing and I had hundreds of letters and emails. When it was live the original Radio Birdsong was used in a cancer ward whilst patients received chemotherapy treatment, by prisoners who hadn’t heard birds for 25 years and in hospital and dentist waiting rooms to calm patients’ nerves. People used it to get their babies off to sleep. There was quite a backlash when Radio Birdsong ceased transmissions in 2009. Working with the RSPB on the creation of this app was a delight.”

Listeners of the RSPB Birdsong Radio app can hear a soothing soundscape of UK birdsong; featuring species suffering serious decline from all four UK countries such as the turtle dove, nightingale, snipe, greenfinch and curlew.
Launching today to coincide with summer solstice celebrations of nature, RSPB Birdsong Radio is the perfect soundtrack to your commute, morning routine or even just the washing up.

A handy alarm-clock feature will allow listeners to wake up to the gentle purring of the turtle dove rather than a blaring alarm.

The app will also give users the option to hear multiple birdsong tracks including Quentin’s original Radio Birdsong audio as well as an edited version of the Let Nature Sing track that made it to number 18 in the charts.
The RSPB Birdsong Radio app will be available to download from mobile device app stores at midnight on Friday June 21.

Search ‘RSPB Birdsong Radio’ to download our free app.
Wildlife devotees will also be able to tune in via our website at rspb.org.uk/letnaturesing

On June 26th thousands of people will attend the Time is Now mass lobby in Westminster to talk to their MP about their commitment to the climate emergency and crisis facing nature.

People from across the UK will be asking politicians to take action towards the UK’s net zero emissions target and to bring forward a powerful Environment Bill that restores nature.

The Time is Now attendees can play the ‘Let Nature Sing- Time is Now edit via the RSPB Birdsong Radio app during the lobby to demonstrate their love of nature’s soundtrack.

 

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