Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Eastern Kentucky

May 17, 2 p.m.

Sunrise at 6:23 a.m.

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Some packs of dogs seem to have it figured out. Just like the old westerns in which the robbers waited for the train when it slowed for a hill, these dogs know where to live. On the steepest hill yet in Virginia and Kentucky, a whole pack of them awaits us at the top of the hill.

Being the scientist that I am, I am out to test whether dogs habituate to bicyclists over the short term. In other words, I bike past these dogs once when they're on the left, turn around and pass them again on my right, and, to continue the bicycle journey westward, turn around and pass them a third time. Are they any less vigorous in their pursuit on the third pass than the first pass? You make the call. (I don't think so!)

Note: I did not kick the yelping dog at 1:24 (he must have tripped over one of his accomplices), though that was a last line of defense that we used in more than a few circumstances.


Just me and the dogs!


Drawing by Nancy Haver