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Dawn Song - Emily Dickinson

One of the magical gifts of spring!

Emily Dickinson: "The Birds begun at Four o'clock..." As the first rays of sunlight fill the trees on a spring morning, a symphony of birdsong erupts. As early morning light extinguishes the stars, male birds begin to belt out their songs. One of the magical gifts of spring is the dawn song. Early in the morning, sparrows, chickadees, thrushes, finches, wrens, blackbirds, and warblers - like this Yellow Warbler - all sing at once.

Today’s show is made possible by donors to BirdNote, who believe that a good story can inspire everyone to care about birds.

Full Transcript

Dawn Song – Emily Dickinson

Written by Frances Wood

This is BirdNote! [Mixture of birds calling at dawn]

One of the magical gifts of spring is to hear the dawn song. As early morning light extinguishes the stars, as the first rays of sunlight fill the trees, male birds begin to pour out their songs. Warblers… , sparrows…, chickadees…, thrushes…, finches…, wrens…, blackbirds… [Repeat dawn song, building to a full boisterous sound]

While the awe and majesty of this symphony at dawn are hard to convey, poet Emily Dickinson, described it this way:   

     The birds begun at four o’clock—
     Their period for dawn—
     A music numerous as space
     And measureless as noon.

     I could not count their force,
     Their voices did expend
     As brook by brook bestows itself
     To magnify the pond.

     Their witnesses were not,
     Except occasional man
     In homely industry arrayed
     To overtake the morn.

     Nor was it for applause
     That I could ascertain,
     But independent ecstasy
     Of Deity and Men. [More dawn song] 

For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.


Dawn Chorus (Dawn at Carnation Marsh, WA during April) provided by: Martyn Stewart at 
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and produced by John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson / Dominic Black
© 2015 Tune In to     Revised for March 2017. March 2019 / 2020

ID # 032105dawnKPLU    edickinson-01b-2009-04-07-MM

Species: Dark-eyed Junco (repeated trilling); Red-breasted Sapsucker (early drumming); Pileated Woodpecker (call); Song Sparrow; White-crowned Sparrow; and Black-headed Grosbeak.

Sights & Sounds

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