Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Hell’s Canyon, Copperfield, Oregon

May 27, 4:52 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:06 a.m.

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A song sparrow singing beside the Snake River. In the distance he hears another song sparrow, and they seem to be trading songs with one another. In this nearly ten-minute selection, this song sparrow sings seven different songs, changing to a new song at the following times: 1:38, 2:47, 4:47 (hear how the song ending changes, though the beginning remains the same), 6:38, 8:35 (again, the first part of the song remains the same; only the ending changes), 9:21.

We could summarize his song performance as 7A 5B 8C 7D 7E 3F 2G, for a total of 39 songs.


Yellow-breasted chat, mourning dove, another song sparrow, yellow warbler, black-headed grosbeak, American crow, chukar?, brown-headed cowbird, and the rippling water of a fairly tame Snake River.


Photo by John Van de Graaff