Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky: Cane Creek Wildlife Management Area

May 30, 5:59 a.m.

Sunrise at 6:18 a.m.

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A great crested flycatcher in dawn song.

Back-to-back wheeee-up songs are always different, and it sounds like he mostly alternates a low frequency, low-intensity wheeee-up with a high frequency, high-intensity, more raspy wheeee-up.

With all of the other birds here in full dawn mode, that low, soft buzzy note interspersed among the louder wheeee-up calls is often difficult to hear. Train your ears on 0:12 for the first truly audible low note, again at 0:22; he doesn't always give it after every two wheeee-ups, and here it's tough to distinguish the flycatcher's low note from the occasional low notes of a chat in the background.

He embellishes the dawn message a little at 1:24, a hint of the rich, raucous repertoire to follow during the daytime. Immediately after that, hear how he gives two of the high-intensity, high-frequency, raspy wheeee-ups back to back.


White-eyed vireo, eastern towhee, field sparrow, yellow-billed cuckoo, yellow-breasted chat, prairie warbler in dawn song, American crow.


Photo by Wil Hershberger