Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Appalachia: Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park, Buckhorn, Kentucky

May 15, 6:42 a.m.

Sunrise at 6:24 a.m.

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A wonderful rollicking jumble of buzzes and piping whistles--I love the energy in these songs. And I love trying to dissect what is on his mind as he crafts his singing program.

In the first ten songs, I can see in Raven-lite four basic song patterns, delivered in the following sequence: A B C B C B C C D C. But my ears cannot track the details in these fast-faced songs, and as a result I hear what seems to be an endless variety. The variety is enhanced when he shortens some songs, lengthens others, or when he repeats fewer or more elements of a given sound within a song, so that no two songs seem exactly alike.


Song sparrow, tufted titmouse, American crow, Carolina chickadee, yellow-throated vireo, Carolina wren, American goldfinch. Distant roar of water over the dam at Buckhorn.


Photo by John Van de Graaff