Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Prairie State Park, Mindenmines, Missouri

June 2, 7:28 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:58 a.m.

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BOB-WHITE! The male perches somewhere out in the low bushes beside a prairie stream, calling his name repeatedly. BOB-WHITE! Every 15 to 20 seconds, BOB-WHITE! What he does between calling I can only guess, because he's well out of sight. BOB -WHITE! What a nice diversion listening to the Bell's vireo, the common yellowthroat, the American goldfinch, the trickling stream, until our attention is again riveted on the BOB-WHITE!


I stand out on the prairie, aiming the parabolic microphone into a riparian belt beside a stream. It is the northern bobwhite that most interests me, but listen for all of the other birds that he lives with: Bell's vireo, common yellowthroat, eastern towhee, American goldfinch, dickcissel, red-winged blackbird, yellow-breasted chat, indigo bunting, willow flycatcher, brown thrasher, American crow.


Photo by John Van de Graaff