Air Date: Week of May 14, 1999
This week, facts about... the nightingale. Fewer and fewer nightingales are returning to the English countryside each spring, so this year the British Trust for Ornithology has launched a nationwide nightingale appeal.
KNOY: It's Living on Earth. I'm Laura Knoy. This month, all England is listening for a sound the nation has celebrated for more than a millennium: the nocturnal song of the nightingale.
KNOY: After wintering in West Africa, thousands of nightingales return to England in May to nest and breed. But disruption of the birds' habitat in the English countryside has caused their numbers to decline. So this year, the British Trust for Ornithology has launched a nationwide nightingale appeal. One of the appeal's chief rundraisers will be a recording of a duet first broadcast 75 years ago. The performance featured the famous British cellist Beatrice Harrison playing in her garden, accompanied by the trilling of a nightingale.
(Harris on cello, with nightingale: "Oh Danny Boy")
KNOY: On May 19, 1924, the late-night BBC broadcast drew more than a million listeners. It was the BBC's first live outdoor broadcast, and it was repeated each year until Ms. Harrison moved away in 1936. After that, the nightingales were broadcast solo until 1942, when a BBC engineer picked up the sound of RAF bombers bound for Germany flying overhead, and stopped transmitting so as not to tip off the Germans.
(Nightingales backdropped by bombers)
KNOY: And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.
Living on Earth wants to hear from you!
P.O. Box 990007
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.
Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.
Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion
The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.
Energy Foundation: Serving the public interest by helping to build a strong, clean energy economy.
Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary hummingbird photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.