Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


The High Rockies: Muddy Pass, Colorado

June 13, 8:25 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:33 a.m.

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A mountain white-crowned sparrow sings the local dialect. He begins with a low, half-second whistled note, but he wavers twice, giving the note a three-part effect; next is a third of a second rising, buzzy note; third is a complex phrase consisting of three different notes; and last is a trill of simple, three to five falling notes, all together a nice four-part song.

His is a familiar tune here, with other white-crowned sparrows singing what sound like identical songs, all of them having learned the local song dialect.


Frogs, dusky flycatcher, swallows, Lincoln's sparrow, mountain chickadee, house wren.


Photo by Wil Hershberger