Archive for May, 2020

Sound Approach Press Release – Gokotta Begins!

Posted on: May 24th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Lockdown has been a long and difficult process for many people, with thousands finding solace and calm in nature. Whilst some absorb the richness of their local environment through visual means, there’s an experience we should all learn to embrace which allows for productivity and creativity to flow. 

May 21st signals the start of Gökotta, a Swedish concept that simply translates; “to rise early at dawn in order to go out and bathe in bird song”. 

Across Sweden the act of Gökotta starts on Ascension Day, 40 days after Easter, and sees large communities head out to listen to the rich chorus of bird song that welcomes in the spring. In particular, the Cuckoo is a much sought after sound with churches in many parts of the country holding their Ascension morning services outside specifically so members can hear their first Cuckoos of the year.

Across the world, with mental health issues on the rise and more and more people feeling a greater disconnect from the natural world, could Gökotta be the process that allows those fractures to heal? Research has shown that even small amounts of exposure to bird song can be hugely beneficial, boosting mental wellbeing by up to 4 hours each day. A dawn chorus can be enjoyed anywhere, you just need to be prepared to get up with the lark and begin listening before sunrise. 

But what can Gökotta teach us?  For many, the dawn chorus is a finite daily event that see’s the same birds, singing the same songs in the same places, but this is inaccurate.  Over time dawn choruses all over the world have changed, not least here in the UK as species like Turtle Dove, Nightingale, Yellowhammer and Wood Warbler are all but gone from many people’s morning soundscapes. At coastal sites where displaying Redshank and singing Curlew were once part of the early morning crescendo, the calls of newly establishing Mediterranean Gulls can now be heard instead. But what we lose in some species we gain in others with Firecrest, Blackcap and Common Whitethroat all seeing dramatic increases in many parts of the country, providing a different structure to the mornings proceedings compared to 30 years ago. 

With Gökotta officially finishing on June 21st, why not get out and practice this new bathing technique over the next month to see and hear how this Swedish tradition can focus your mind and expand your learning?

To learn more about the experience of Gökotta visit the sound approach website –

To practice the art of Gökotta the Sound Approach have provided 10 dawn chorus’s from across the Western Palearctic that can be enjoyed here –

Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus Sigri, Lesbos, Greece, 21 April 2002 (René Pop).


Posted on: May 21st, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Birds of Poole Harbour Swift Project – Continued 2020

Posted on: May 15th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Lockdown has been a long, and for many people, difficult process. People have found comfort and hope in nature by tuning into nest cams, counting birds in their garden and listening to their local dawn choruses. But what about nature it’s self? How has that coped with no people or disturbances in the landscape? Time will tell, depending on whether any breeding bird surveys or ringing can take place later in the year but are there opportunities to help now?

As a conservation charity not only have we been struggling not meeting and speaking to people about our work via our public bird boat scheme or engaging in chat in our HQ. We’ve been desperate to get some practical conservation work up and running too.

Last year thanks to a kind donation from local business Saltwater Stone we were able to kickstart our Swift City project by erecting several new Swift boxes up and around Old Town Poole. Parallel to this we also hosted a public fundraiser to help us spread the project further across the harbour with aim of getting more boxes up this spring. Then Covid-19 hit and we were stopped in our tracks.

Swifts have declined as a breeding species in the UK by 58% since 1995 which is a startling statistic. The RSPB also recently launched an appeal for Swift sightings across the UK by creating this SWIFT MAPPER, which allows people to input nesting Swift locations across the country.

We were also keen to act and get things moving again to help Swifts, so before the breeding season had gone too far we quickly identified a series of new locations for Swift nest boxes at other sites in the harbour, using contacts of ours within ‘Swift Hotspots’ who kindly provided data and sightings to us, meaning we didn’t need to leave our houses. With the new locations identified we had a series of new Swift boxes made locally (online order times were several weeks)! And we’ve now arranged with homeowners for us to come and install them quickly and safely just in time for the breeding season.

So, huge thanks to everyone that contributed last year, we’re now (today and early next week) getting the boxes up (15 more in total) in the hope that Swifts will start using them this summer, therefore helping to bolster and increase existing populations around then harbour……..lets see what happens!

Some of our new Swift Boxes

Inside design – The minimalistic look

Call 01202 641 003