Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge, Walden, Colorado

June 9, 6:55 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:33 a.m.

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A western meadowlark perches atop a bush of sage, singing, listening no doubt to the other male in the background. Our foreground male offers five renditions of one of his songs, then one of another; after that, he calls four times, all of them the hard, down-slurred whistle that signals some kind of agitation. Hear him then take flight, his wings beating the air at 1:12, as he launches into the air and into a most beautiful flight song. At some distance, he lands, giving another rendition of the song type that occurred just before the flight song.

His overall program here: A, A, A, A, A, B, call, call, call, call, flight song, B. I'm intrigued that he remembered which song that he had sung just before the flight song and continued performing that particular song, as he has several others that he could have sung.


Photo by John Van de Graaff