Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Southern Illinois: Shawnee National Forest

June 3, 8:32 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:33 a.m.

Download the Recording

The wooded swamp has reclaimed the coal-mined strip beside the road, and the usual suspects all sing here, including the prothonotary warbler. He chips between songs, something I'd expect him to do only when agitated, yet there seems nothing here to agitate. Sure, I'm standing just 10 or so yards away, but he'd not chip at me, I wouldn't think, only at others of his kind.

He sings the only song he knows, his version of the prothonotary warbler song a rising weet-weet-weet-weet-weet-weet-weet, seven or eight phrases over a second and a half.


Northern Cardinal, frogs, eastern wood-pewee, red-winged blackbird, brown-headed cowbird, indigo bunting, American crow, blue-gray gnatcatcher, northern parula, common yellowthroat


Photo by John Van de Graaff