Morning has broken with the songbirds.


(AUTHOR’S NOTE: One of our dear friends in England, Sally Russell, informed us of International Dawn Chorus Day. It is May 4, although some may observe it on other days. That’s a day set aside to rise early and hear the robins, finches, wrens and other songbirds as they sing — and delight — at start of day. This essay is being re-published in honor of and recognition of that special day. Set the alarm clock. Greet the sun. Hear the songbirds. Enjoy. Be uplifted.)

“Morning has broken,

“Like the first morning . . .”

English children began singing the song in church services decades ago.

Folk singer/song writer Cat Stephens popularized it in the 70s.

“Morning has broken . . .”

It is a song of spring.

No matter the season.

Only hours into spring, shortly before morn was to break, we stepped out to get the papers.

Retrieved them, sat down in our front porch chair.

Waited for the sun to break the day, bless the day.

In a few minutes it did, initially bringing its special array of soft, inspiring colors.

And hope.

A bird came. We didn’t get sufficient look at it to know what kind.

Might not have known even if we had gotten a good look at it.

It settled into the hedge in front of our porch, began singing.

Until it sang, we’d more or less assumed the birds about our place knew only a song or two.

As do we.

On this morn, we learned otherwise.

This bird sang a different, extended tune.

After a little while, we realized this bird had what seemed to be an inexhaustible repertoire.

No two songs were alike.

For several seconds, it would offer up one song.

Then, finished with that song and without hesitation, it moved seamlessly on to another song.

For an equal amount of time.

Then on to another song.

Then another.

Then . . .

How many songs can a bird know?


Depending upon the bird, some say thousands.

Some say tens of thousands.

Some say some birds sing with special energy at dawn.

More loudly.

More vigorously.

More enthusiastically.

More purposefully.

Mornings can be like that.

For birds.

For people.

After a good while, the bird that came to delightfully break the morn for us, with us – and after we lost count of the many different songs it sang – it moved on.

Perhaps to sing for a neighbor.

Then maybe another.

And then . . .

Bringing the morning.

Cheerfully, optimistically bringing the morning.

Presenting the morning.

As it deserves to be presented.

Offering up its enviable repertoire.

Like the awakening sun, helping to bring the day’s blessings.

Smoothing, soothing as it does.

As morning breaks.

And, having been calmed, entertained, encouraged, delighted, stilled and yet at once enlivened by the countless, captivating songs it sings, we’ll be back tomorrow.


Bright ‘n’ early.

Before darkness completes its assigned time.

Before the sun begins to sign on for the day.

We’ll be back, hoping this joyous, melodious songster comes again.

To elevate the spirit.

Captivate the heart.

Embrace the soul.

To say good morning.

To smile upon us.

To offer up its delightful, limitless repertoire.

And all that comes with it.

As morning breaks.

  Roger Summers is a journalist and essayist who spends time in Texas, New Mexico and England and in a world of curiosity and creativity. He is the author of The Day Camelot Came to Town and Heart Songs From a Washboard Road. He can be reached at


Please click the book cover image to read more about the short story collection of Roger Summers in Heart Songs from a Washboard Road.


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  • Caleb Pirtle

    The songbirds and I have watched the morning break for a long time now. Well, the songbirds watch it break, and I hear the songbirds. They all show up at different times, and I can almost set the clock by their different songs

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