Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Southern Illinois: Shawnee National Forest

June 3, 6:21 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:33 a.m.

Download the Recording

From a utility wire directly overhead, a dickcissel sings his version of the local dialect: dick dick ciss-ciss-ciss-ciss. For variety, sometimes it's only one dick, sometimes only three ciss, but that's about the extent of how much he varies his song. His song is typical of this dialect.

Here's a summary of the dickcissel dialects you can listen to:

Illinois, Shawnee National Forest, one male: IL-107

Illinois, beside the Mississippi River, three males: IL-108, IL-109, IL-110

Missouri, beside the Mississippi River, four males: MO-111, MO-112, MO-113, MO-114

Missouri, Prairie State Park, six males: MO-154, MO-155, MO-156, MO-157, MO-158, MO-159


Indigo bunting, American crow, summer tanager, field sparrow.


Photo by John Van de Graaff