Every year, the UK welcomes the most musical of birds, the nightingale, as they return from Africa to breed. For the first six weeks of their arrival, the males put on a nightly musical performance, with the aim of marking their territory and attracting a mate.

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On 13th April, folk musician and author Sam Lee was in attendance in a secret location in Sussex to bring us a livestream of the first nightingales to arrive here. An experienced wildlife watcher, Sam records the birdsong each year and beams it back into the studio, where it is skillfully mixed with selected compositions from musicians all over the UK. The effect is a magical duet of bird and human – in the spirit of Beatrice Harrison's Cello and the Nightingale performance back in 1924. This time, however, there are no bird impersonators.

This year's concert was livestreamed at 11pm on 13th April. Listen to it here:

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Sadly, nightingales are in major decline and are likely to die out in the UK, being on our Red List of species at greatest risk. There may not be many more chances to hear its captivating song, or to enjoy the interplay between instrument and bird.

Authors

Tanya Jackson in red checked shirt and rucksack standing by a wall with a big smile
Tanya JacksonDigital editor

Tanya Jackson is a digital editor and writer for countryfile.com. She lives in Wiltshire and loves campfire cooking, swimming in the sea, rural folklore, barn owls and walking her Welsh collie in the misty hills. Tanya also has a passion for English food and drink – although nothing tastes as good as tomato soup out of a thermos on a crisp woodland walk.

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