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Monday 21:00-21:30
Nature offers a window on global natural history, providing a unique insight into the natural world, the environment, and the magnificent creatures that inhabit it.

If you like natural history and you're interested in the environment, why not visit Radio 4's first ever interactive blog here.

You can read, watch and listen to natural history on the radio.

And being a blog, you can of course contribute to it...
LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
 Listen to 24 September 2007
Presenter - Paul Evans
Monday 24 September2007
Christ Watson recording with a parabolic reflector
Chris Watson recording with a parabolic reflector in Springfield Park.

The Sounds of Britain 3 - An Urban Dawn Chorus

In the third of a short series of sound portraits of Nature’s Britain, wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson captures and releases an urban Dawn Chorus.

Founded in 1914, Alder Hey Children’s hospital in Liverpool is one of the largest and busiest children's hospitals in Europe, treating more than 200,000 children a year. The building can be an imposing and impersonal place for both patients and staff, but alongside the hospital is Springfield Park, an urban park mainly used by local residents to walk their dogs, and as a venue for teenagers to meet, or play football.

When sound recordist Chris Watson visited Alder Hey hospital for the first time last year, he was struck by how the patients and staff could see Springfield Park from the hospital windows, but they couldn’t hear it; and so he suggested recording and installing a dawn chorus inside the hospital. The idea was greeted with huge enthusiasm. And so Chris was commissioned by the Foundation for Arts and Creative Technology (FACT) and Alder Hey to create a sound installation for the hospital. This edition of NATURE tells the story of how the dawn chorus was captured and then released into the hospital for the benefit of the patients.

In Spring 2007, Chris was joined by patients, staff, and some local students to make recordings at dawn in the park. This was the first time many of the volunteers had ever done any sound recording. Children from the hospital crept round the park, accompanied by their parents or carers, recording greenfinches, robins, blackbirds and song thrushes as well as the rain and the wind. For everyone involved it was an “ear-opening” and inspirational experience.

From the hours and hours of recordings, Chris carefully edited the material to create a shortened version of the dawn chorus by “time compressing” the actual event to create a piece lasting about 6 minutes, called WILD SONG AT DAWN. Now, patients and staff can escape the noisy, impersonal environment of the hospital and immerse themselves in the sounds of a dawn chorus by listening to the chorus on a personal audio player. Long term, the cathartic effect of the dawn chorus on the patients is something which the hospital is particularly keen to explore.

In this edition of NATURE, Paul Evans narrates the journey of a dawn chorus; from urban park to hospital ward as the children and staff at Alder Hey immerse themselves in an orchestra of birds, which until now, had been beyond their reach.
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