Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge, Stevensville, Montana

June 8, 5:44 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:44 a.m.

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In the rain, a least flycatcher struts his stuff, a cheBEK repeated over and over, faster than one per second. The song genes of this bird are basically the same as they are for the birds back in Virginia (see VA-54, VA-55)

By 1:20, this least flycatcher is joined by a gray catbird, both of them now singing in the rain. I hear no continuously stunning mimicry from this catbird, though there's the occasional sound reminding me of . . . an American robin (1:21, 1:47), tree swallow (1:41), a Klee-yer! call of a flicker (1:50), a perfect bzeeyeer of a western wood-pewee (2:45).


Rain. American robin, black-capped chickadee (faintly a hey-sweetie in the background), western wood-pewee.


Photo by John Van de Graaff