Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Stanley County, South Dakota

April 7, morning

Sunrise at 7:10 a.m.

Download the Recording

Three calling bursts ("tattler calls"), followed by the haunting and beautiful "Long, Mellow Whistle," as ornithologists refer to it. Sounds a bit like a wolf, or wolf-whistle, or the wailing of loons. There's nothing like it, unmistakable, and stunning to watch the birds singing in flight, with neck extended, gliding during the song, then resuming wing flapping after the song has been delivered. Sometimes they circle and sing high overhead, sometimes they sing just before landing.

Thank you, Wil Hersberger, for sharing this recording, as I had not managed to record an upland sandpiper on my own.


western meadowlark, grasshopper sparrow


Photo by Wil Hershberger