Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Eastern Oregon: Prairie City, Malheur National Forest, Picture Gorge

May 26, 8:36 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:17 a.m.

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A hermit thrush. Well after sunrise, singing much as I feel him sing at dusk, he ekes out 12 songs in a minute, on idle it seems, almost mournful, without the bristling energy of dawn singing.

Still, I rush to the sonagrams to see what he's doing, searching for repetitions of the first song, finding it in positions 1, 10, 19, the second song at 2, 11, 20, each occurring every nine songs, suggesting a repertoire of roughly nine different songs. And they're such fine songs, each so distinctive from the other when I watch the sonagrams as I hear him sing.

And a drumming woodpecker, 15-17 beats per second, in the range of a downy woodpecker.


Western tanager, dark-eyed junco, red-breasted nuthatch


Photo by John Van de Graaff