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This time of year hundreds of birds come to the mountains. Before the sunrise they begin to awaken, as they do, they begin to sing their various songs. All together they sound like a boisterous cacophony, but soon you hear their individual sounds and it becomes a symphony of beauty and awe.

I suppose there is no one word to describe such a beautiful scene and I'll have to write a paragraph to describe this most inspiring of God's creative wonders.

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  • 6
    Hire a poet. Or a poem. Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 13:47
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    One rare quiet morning I heard the Sun rise.
    – Bread
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 22:48
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    You've described what in my mind is the perpetual state of The Garden of Eden. Paradise.
    – Mazura
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 6:37
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    melodious: In non-technical use, bird songs are the bird sounds that are melodious to the human ear. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird_vocalization
    – GeekyDaddy
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 15:03
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    Came here to suggest cacophony, in part because it's hard to get to the beauty and awe stage when you're trying to remain asleep at 5:00 AM
    – studog
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 18:34

7 Answers 7

82

It's usually called the...

dawn chorus
the singing of birds together just before dawn - Cambridge Dictionary

I have the impression this usage is more common in BrE than AmE - I don't know of any widespread AmE alternative, but I stand to be corrected on that. And I don't know any equivalent term for deafening birdsong in the evening (which I suspect in my area is exacerbated by all-night street lights; the birds never just shut up and go to sleep).


EDIT: Prompted by T.E.D.'s comment below, I just checked out this NGram...

Ngram showing significantly more use in British English then American English

...which clearly shows that - as I suspected - the usage is significantly more common in BrE. But I still don't know any AmE equivalent / alternative.

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    Never heard it in AmE, but as a native speaker I'd allow it. Its easy enough to figure out from context, and could just be considered a descriptive term.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 13:28
  • I suspected that might be the case, but at the time of writing the original post I couldn't remember (and couldn't be bothered to look up) how to compare "prevalence" between US/UK corpuses in NGrams. Anyway, your comment has at least prompted me to go the extra mile on that score, and it's nice to see support for my guess. Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 13:40
  • I have heard this as a native North American and have seen it used in a book on outdoor survival skills written by a North American (years ago, don't remember title or author. Some self-aggrandizing blow-hard from New Jersey). But I start work at such an hour that I hear this most days (except in winter), so it's near the top of my mind.
    – user597
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 14:03
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    And I don't know any equivalent term for deafening birdsong in the evening. Try googling "Evening Chorus". There's this result from the BBC and this one from a British birdwatchibg site. The term isn't as common as "Dawn Chorus" but it is used.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 22:46
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    I learned the "dawn chorus" name from Winnie the Pooh. And while Milne may have been British, I learned it from the American Disney cartoons. So I think it is okay as an American term.
    – trlkly
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 6:26
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Although the term for this behaviour is the "dawn chorus", the word "chorus" is quite okay by itself:

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I too like morning chorus. Consider birdsong too.

the musical call of a bird or birds.

As in: finedictionary

'Daylight and a loud chorus of birdsong woke them'.

Through the open window came a trill of morning birdsong.

Symphony? Forget it. Morning birdsong is a conglomeration of soloists, busily singing as loud and as often as they can, with no regard for the overall effect.

In AmE birdsong is also used for morning, evening, after storms and during the mating season. See the following Ngram search of AmE usage. Dawn chorus prevails.

Ngram showing dawn chorus is used more than morning birdsong

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  • I think "frequently" might be overstating it.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 15:37
  • It is slightly more frequent that morning chorus, but less frequently used than tmesis or crepuscular. I'm a fairly well read native speaker of AmE, and I'd never heard of "morning birdsong" before reading your answer, so to say it is used "frequently" is, imho, overstating its usage
    – Kevin
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 17:44
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    @Mari-LouA aye aye!
    – lbf
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 18:27
  • If you look at actual examples, is the latter coming from phrasing like "In the morning, birdsong ... [woke me|drifted in through the window|etc]"? Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 23:06
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The title asks for one word. I originally thought cacophony was a good thing, apparently its not. So here is the antonym:

euphony

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  • Only it is not euphonious. I hear them every morning and love them and they all make different sounds.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 14:15
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A Decemberists song called "June Hymn" contains the lyric "a panoply of song" to describe the "dawn chorus". Panoply is a noun which means "an extensive or impressive collection"; "a splendid display"; or "a complete suit of armor" (to get medieval).

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Aubade is the term for sounds at dawn. Per Merriam-Webster, an aubade is:

1] a song or poem greeting the dawn 2 a morning love song 3] a song or poem of lovers parting at dawn 4] morning music

The same dictionary also includes a usage note:

Aubade is a French word that first romanced speakers of the English language during the 1670s. In French it means "dawn serenade," and that is the meaning that English-speakers originally fell in love with. As the relationship of "aubade" with the English language grew, its meanings became a little more intimate. It blossomed into a word for a song or poem of lovers parting at dawn. Later it came to refer to songs sung in the morning hours.

So, even if the current meaning has more of a romantic connotation, the original etymology and meaning of the word was in fact similar to what you're looking for (though it doesn't specify that it's from birds)

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    Hello and welcome to ELU. Please provide a more detailed answer. One-liners aren't considered good answers and may end up getting deleted. Can you provide some external references to support your suggested answer? Can you provide an example sentence of this word in use? Thanks.
    – NVZ
    Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 18:19
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I’ve heard and read it described as morning glory, spelled in lowercase to distinguish it from the plant.

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  • But you don't capitalize violets or nasturtiums or morning glories or poppies.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 22:23

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