Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Shortgrass Prairie of eastern Colorado, Pawnee National Grassland, Briggsdale, Colorado

May 27, 5:16 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:26 a.m.

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He perches on the utility wire perhaps 80 yards from me, yet his calls are sharp and clear, as they seem to carry forever here in this open country. If he's read the books, he's calling chupp . . . chupp . . . chupp, followed by a dry, rolling chatter, vicicicicicicicicicicic. He sounds disturbed in some way, perhaps by my presence, though I feel so distant from him. Punctuating this calling performance are two different songs (from 2:17 to 2:26), but then he returns to his calls.

For the meadowlarks, his calls declare The West, unequivocally, as these calls are innate, not learned, and eastern meadowlarks can't fake them.


Horned lark in dawn song (compare CO-284), Brewer's sparrow in dawn song (compare CO-215), cattle


Photo by John Van de Graaff