Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, southeastern Oregon

June 11, 4:13 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:14 a.m.

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A common yellowthroat sings witchity-wichity-wichity, in slow motion it seems, though he doesn't have the mnemonic quite right, as he sings more of a y-wichy y-wichy y-wichy. Ten songs over two minutes, a song every 12 seconds, on average, at a leisurely pace.

When in unfamiliar territory, I always hear sounds I don't know. Here is a mystery "double bark," best heard beginning at 0:31 through 1:16. Or is it a "double quack"? I'm just not sure.


Barn swallow, tree swallow, great horned owl (who has last say, to 2:12), barking sounds, pied-billed grebe, red-winged blackbird, yellow-headed blackbird, miscellaneous water birds.


Photo by John Van de Graaff