Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Richmond National Battlefield Park, Malvern Hill, Virginia

May 17, 7:28 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:59 a.m.

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From the bough of a pine tree hanging out over the road, a third field sparrow offers his unique tune. Each song is a gem, beginning with five or six tonal whistles, with successive whistles rising and lengthening; following that introductory phrase is an abrupt change to a rapid trill of down-slurred whistles, given with increasing tempo.

Seventeen songs over the five minutes that I listened to him makes for a leisurely pace of three to four songs per minute.

Listen to this male's two neighbors at VA-19, VA-20.


Rain. The summer tanager sings loudly nearby. Distant birds: Kentucky warbler, red-eyed vireo, common yellowthroat.


Photo by John Van de Graaff