Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Willamette Valley, William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon

May 23, 4:58 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:37 a.m.

Download the Recording

Great horned owls, a whole family of them!

The distant adult female hoots first (her ho ho-ooo hooo hoo in first two seconds), followed immediately (after a rising, tonal call by a Swainson's thrush) by a young owl who screeches from the oak trees about 100 yards away. She hoots again (0:09), and the youngster screeches (0:13), but if you listen down low you'll hear the distant foghorn hooting of the adult male, ho ho-ooo hooo hoo, usually immediately after the female (best heard at 0:47, 1:24, but he's also at 0:14 and 0:23) or before the female (0:56, 1:06)--you'll probably have to turn the gain on the headphones up to hear him, but then don't let the youngster break your eardrums!

In a pretty klutzy editing job, I amplified the hooting of the adult male, and the amplified background gives the first clue that the adult male is hooting.


Spotted towhee, house wren, Swainson's thrush (calls and songs), Bewick's wren, yellow-breasted chat, Canada goose, bullfrogs


Photo by John Van de Graaff