Some people recognise birds by their songs rather than by their appearance. Birdwatcher Bill Oddie will hear 90% of birds before he sees them and explains how to recognise different bird-songs. Gary has been blind from birth. His hearing is exceptional and he has been learning to identify birdsong since he was six years old. Birds look very different when seen close up, but many birds are small and are often hidden in leafy trees so it is useful to be able to recognise birds from their songs.

The dawn chorus in early May is lovely to hear but it is not a good time to learn about birdsong as there is too much going on. It is better to start earlier in the year when there are fewer birds singing. Bill suggests closing your eyes and listening to birdsong next time you are outside.

First broadcast:
3 March 2008

The clip could be used to help hearing impaired children understand that birds make different sounds to communicate. It could provide a discussion point into why and how they have adapted their songs. The clip would also be useful to play when learning about variation and classification of different species. It could be played prior to a visit to a bird sanctuary or before going on a school trip where there might be the opportunity to identify birdsong.