Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma

CHARLES HAUPT, owner of the Haupt Country Store VA-18

Charles City, Virginia

May 5, 8:30 a.m.

Sunrise at 6:08 a.m.

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Mr. Charles Haupt, whose family has owned this Haupt Country Store since 1893, tells of his love-affair with purple martins. Martins are "very very pleasurable birds to be around," and "they'll make you happy," he declares. "They like people. They like for you to stand around and talk to them, just like we're doing now."

He tells how he lost the colony in a storm 30 years ago when they were migrating, how he shoots the sparrows and starlings who dare to intrude, how he hopes our conversation will encourage others to "get a colony going."


Purple martins, traffic on the John Tyler Memorial Highway (Route 5), customers at the store.


Photo by Ev & Ed Wengrofsky


Photo by Don Kroodsma