Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Big Hole National Battlefield, Wisdom, Montana

June 5, 7:46 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:46 a.m.

Download the Recording

He perches on a fence post that runs through the open meadow here, offering the unique silhouette of a Wilson's snipe against the sky.

He calls, a rising crescendo, TIK-TIK-TIK-TIK-TIK, three series of them, then just after a minute lowers the volume to a soft two-syllable a-TIK'-a-TIK'-a-TIK'-a-TIK'-a-TIK'.

His expression is wonderfully varied, from loud TIK series to the softer a-TIK' calls.


American robin, savannah sparrow (singing from the next fence post over from the snipe), winnowing snipe, least flycatcher, yellow warbler, western wood-pewee, some wind.


Photo by John Van de Graaff