Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Cambridge, Idaho

May 28, 5:36 a.m.

Sunrise at 6:05 a.m.

Download the Recording

A veery singing beside a mountain stream, 30 songs in a little under three minutes. He calls, too, offering an occasional sharply down-slurred veeer (e.g., 0:08).

I have stared at his songs on my computer monitor for some minutes now, amazed at how similar they all are. But he must have a repertoire of different songs, so I continue looking for clues as to how to differentiate them.

I finally think I see what's on his mind, in that he sings A B C A B C A B C A B C for the first 12 songs, as I see (but don't hear) subtle distinctions among the songs. At least I think that's what he's doing, partly because that's what I've come to expect of how veeries sing.


Nashville warbler, black-headed grosbeak, yellow warbler, MacGillivray's warbler, mourning dove, spotted towhee


Photo by Brian L. Sullivan