Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Appalachia: Biking uphill from Bevonsville to Dema, Kentucky

May 14, mid-afternoon

Sunrise at 6:15 a.m.

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Put your headphones on and close your eyes as you listen, and soon you'll be biking up this monster hill yourself. The saddle creaks with every stroke of the legs, breathing is a bit heavy, but just listen to the birds as we approach them and then leave them behind.

After listening for a little over a minute, I point out what we just heard: "Pretty typical songs for mid-afternoon, Carolina wrens, red-eyed vireos, American redstarts . . . and the ovenbird." There's also a Carolina chickadee calling in there, and a small waterfall gurgles off to the right.

As you listen, you feel the various birds pass by: the loudest Carolina wren passes on the right about 0:40, for example, the redstart on the left at about 0:50.


Photo by David Kroodsma