Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Shortgrass Prairie of western Kansas, near Lake Scott State Park, Scott City, Kansas

June 6, 7:07 a.m.

Sunrise at 6:19 a.m.

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Two male western meadowlarks argue at their territory boundary. The near male sings loudly (at 0:04), followed immediately by the background male. Until about 0:50, the two males take turns singing, then the far male recedes into the distance. After seven songs, the near male calls, chupp . . . chupp . . .chupp, the far male responding (at 1:52) with the rattling vicicicicicicicicicicic. The near male continues calling chupp, then offers three sharp, down-slurred whistles, followed by more chupps and eventually a song. If you had listened closely to this male's first seven songs, you'll hear that he's now changed his tune, choosing to sing another of the half dozen or so songs in his repertoire.


two other western meadowlarks, ring-necked pheasant, western kingbird, brown-headed cowbird.


Photo by Wil Hershberger