Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Big Hole National Battlefield, Wisdom, Montana

June 6, 9:50 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:45 a.m.

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A pair of common ravens calling, and what a joy to listen to them converse. One bird calls from the top of a nearby pine, until 0:19, when a second bird joins from the left, both of them using much the same call. As they alternate calling, listen for the slight difference in pitch between the two, perhaps suggesting male and female, the lower sound coming from the male.

At 0:51, one of the birds switches to a different call, and soon both have switched, and when they alternate calling the pitch difference is again obvious (about 1:00). As they converse with different types of calls through the remainder of this selection, the pitch differences seem to remain consistent, with one bird (probably the female) calling higher than the other (probably the male).

Wing beats? About 4/second at 1:16.

Then, beginning at 2:41, a pair of nearby sandhill cranes sound off! Listen for the lower male voice and the higher female voice.


Ruby-crowned kinglet, red squirrel, chipping sparrow, sandhill crane (2:05, especially 2:43!), yellow warbler


Photo by John Van de Graaff


Photo by John Van de Graaff