Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Lake Anna State Park, Spotsylvania, Virginia

May 20; 8:03 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:57 a.m.

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In a parking lot beside Lake Anna, a killdeer eyes me, watching. Does it have a nest nearby? Can I induce one of those out-of-this-world distraction displays from it?

Over the gravel, I walk toward it, flushing it, eliciting a series of calls as it flies off a short distance. Menacing presence that I am, it flushes again, calling in the same fashion, dee-dit-dit-dit-dit-dit-dit ki-dee ki-dee ki-dee.

Alas, I surmise that there's no nest here, as the killdeer does nothing more than call.


A northern mockingbird, red-eyed vireo.


Photo by John Van de Graaff