David Attenborough to launch Tweet Of The Day on Radio 4

I’ve seen some of the most incredible animals on my travels around the world, but Tweet Of The Day is a nice reminder of the teeming world of birds on my doorstep."David Attenborough
Date: 24.04.2013     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 18.01
Category: Radio 4
On 6 May David Attenborough will launch Tweet Of The Day, Radio 4’s new year-long celebration of the wonder and poetry of birdsong. Just before the Today programme, early risers will be treated to a different call or song of a British species, followed by a fascinating story of ornithology specific to the tweet in question.

David Attenborough will present every episode of the series in May, before passing the baton to one of the other wildlife presenters involved in the project, including Steve Backshall, Miranda Krestovnikov and Chris Packham. It is hoped David will reclaim the baton later in the year.

Each episode will last a minute and a half, and will feature the song of a particular bird followed by insights into that bird’s behaviour and habits, as well as its literary and folklore associations. The series will tell the birds’ stories through science, social history, culture, literature, music and just pure rarity.

David Attenborough says: “I’m delighted to be involved in this series. I’ve seen some of the most incredible animals on my travels around the world, but Tweet Of The Day is a nice reminder of the teeming world of birds on my doorstep. As a non-ornithologist, I might even learn a little too.”

The series is being made by the BBC’s Natural History Unit. Already producers at the NHU have trawled through over a thousand bird recordings in the BBC sound archive to discover they are going to have to source and record more bird sounds to reach the 265 episodes planned for the year.

In Britain there are now 596 species on the official bird list, of which 286 are recorded as rare. The BBC will be collaborating with brilliant wildlife sound recordists such as Chris Watson, Geoff Sample and Gary Moore to track down the songs of some of these much-loved birds, from the nightingale to the swift, the greenfinch to the garden warbler. The series will begin with the cuckoo – the song of the male is familiar to many, but how many of us can say that we have seen the bird itself?

Gwyneth Williams, Controller of BBC Radio 4, says: “I’m thrilled to have birds flying into the early morning schedule on Radio 4. David Attenborough, of course, will rule the roost as we introduce hundreds of British birds to our early listening and online audiences. And Radio 4’s digital archive will be their permanent nesting site.”

Every episode of Tweet Of The Day will be available to download. All 265 episodes will be kept online forever, creating a rich and unique resource. The website will include behind-the-scenes features on how the recordings were made, profiles of the presenters and wildlife recordists and links to enable users to discover more about birds. Individual episodes will be illustrated with an image provided by the RSPB.

The series will be broadcast every weekday morning at 05.58. A special Tweet will be repeated on Sunday mornings at 08.58.

See bbc.co.uk/radio4/tweetoftheday for more information, and search #r4tweet on Twitter.