Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, southeastern Oregon

June 10, 4:15 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:14 a.m.

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A western kingbird in dawn song, just a few yards away. At 2:15 hear him change positions in the tree, seemingly coming a little closer or moving into the open a little, perhaps now facing me, as he becomes louder and sharper after that.

How intriguing now that I listen carefully to this Oregon male and compare him with two Kansas birds. The songs of this bird are far less shrill and at a lower frequency. What does that mean, if anything? Is this an example of individual differences, or of geographic differences, in which case Oregon western kingbirds would have different genes than western kingbirds back in Kansas?


Common nighthawk, both peents and diving VROOMs; an early morning breeze kicks up on occasion.


Photo by Robert Royse