Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Southern Illinois: Ferne Clyffe State Park, Goreville

May 25, 4:32 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:37 a.m.

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Purple martins fly high overhead here at Ferne Clyffe State Park. I aim the parabola skyward, just trying to hold it steady and collect sounds from whoever is singing up there. How many males I cannot know, but presumably these are older birds singing so as to attract migrant first-year birds to the local nesting colony.


A dog. Distant highway noise. Insects. No other birds are stirring so early.


Photo by John Van de Graaff