The National Trust has launched a survey to find the nation’s favourite birdsong (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/birdsong)-participants can vote for one of the five songsters chosen by naturalists.

Unsurprisingly, the song thrush features, nominated by broadcaster Mike Dilger. He praises the complexity and beauty of the sound: ‘It’s as if the gaps in between each musical phrase [the bird can do 100 different ones] have evolved to give the song thrush a second to retrospectively admire his artistry.’

Stephen Moss names the robin, because ‘he sings more or less all year round, reminding us-even in the depths of winter-that the natural world is still functioning’. Mr Moss adds: ‘The song of the robin may not be the loudest or most melodious, but it has a plaintive, wistful beauty that is very hard to beat.’

They are up against the blackbird, chosen by the Trust’s Matthew Oates, who says its song is ‘integral to our relationships with nature and spirit of place’; the swift, whose ‘frenetic, rasping scream’ is the sound Trust ecologist Peter Brash is most looking forward to this summer; and the blackcap, which writer Stuart Winter says is the ‘most uplifting harbinger [of summer] of all’.