Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia

May 9, 5:50 a.m.

Sunrise at 6:10 a.m.

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This field sparrow is fired up! He's into the dawn chorus, using his complex dawn song, which consists of four different phrases; call them A, B, C, and D. But, as in the first song, he can't seem to stop after an A B C D sequence; instead, he gives two extra phrases, so that the song is A B C D B C.

The next song is A B C D, then A B C, and then (at 0:33) he chips frantically before the next song, which is an A B C D B C again. Those chips are reminiscent of the dawn effort of the Brewer's sparrow, a closely related species in the genus Spizella. Overall, it's quite a performance by this field sparrow.

How different these dawn songs are from the leisurely daytime bouncing ball songs (VA-19, VA-20, VA-21, KY-93).


Lots of eastern towhees! Indigo bunting, wind.


Photo by Wil Hershberger