Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma

Chestnut-backed chickadee OR-377

The Pacific Coast, South Beach State Park, Newport, Oregon

May 21, 6:09 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:42 a.m.

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There is no whistled song from this good-looking bird who forages and calls in the stunted pines just a few yards away from me. Not even a tsick-i-see-see. Instead, this chestnut-backed chickadee gives an odd assortment of sounds, perhaps what the experts might classify as the aggressive gargle calls. Perhaps. Not sure what this chickadee would think of being told he gargles.

At 0:46 he flies across the trail in front of me (28 wing beats/second), and resumes calling there.


American crow, spotted towhee, American goldfinch, ruby-crowned kinglet, brown-headed cowbird, foghorn and roar of the Pacific surf.


Photo by John Van de Graaff