Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Lincoln Homestead State Park, Springfield, Kentucky

May 31, 6:08 a.m.

Sunrise at 6:21 a.m.

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With a fine chorus of bullfrogs in the background, a field sparrow delivers his simple daytime song, 11 of them over two minutes. Each song begins with four pure whistled tones, all on the same pitch, taking almost a second; the transition to the rapid trill of upslurred whistles, 13-14/second, is abrupt, making the song sound distinctly two-parted while staying on roughly the same pitch throughout, neither rising nor falling.

Contrast the daytime singing of this male with the energy of a field sparrow during the dawn chorus, in VA-39.


Blue-gray gnatcatcher, bullfrogs, mourning dove, American robin (calls only), eastern towhee, and an intense, continuous chorus of insects up about 5000 Hz.


Photo by John Van de Graaff