Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Land-between-the-Lakes, Western Kentucky

May 6, 10:35 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:51 a.m.

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This white-eyed vireo begins with four normal-sounding songs in A B A B sequence, the alternating sequence already indicating that he's a little worked up about something. Then he launches into a muted tirade in which he's deconstructed all of his songs into a stream of mimicry. The best I can do is to pick out the whit whit calls pilfered from the wood thrush, at 0:12, 0:31, 0:41, and more.

I don't know what's in his head, what caused all of this. Perhaps he had just encountered another male on his territory? I wish I knew.


Yellow-throated and blue-headed vireos


Photo by John Van de Graaff