Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Hell’s Canyon, Copperfield, Oregon

May 27, 4:15 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:06 a.m.

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A yellow-breasted chat singing in the dark, well before sunrise. It's a slow pace, the time between songs seeming an eternity. I pick distinctive songs for a good listen, and find the three strong buzzy notes at 0:39, and again at 1:01, 1:14, 1:41, 2:54, and that's the end of it, never to occur again in this 11-minute selection.

About then, at 3:09, I first hear what sounds a bit like a policeman's whistle, though brief, and there it is again at 3:56, 4:11, and only one more time, at 9:00.

An entirely new sound begins at 4:41, occurring about a dozen more times through to 9:36.


A distant yellow-breasted chat. Wind, western kingbird in dawn song, song sparrow (8:50--just one song in the night), bit of Snake River . . .


Photo by John Van de Graaff