Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Yorktown National Battlefield, Yorktown, Virginia

May 15; 8:09 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:56 a.m.

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In the foreground, a tufted titmouse sings 23 times over 80 seconds, all the same song, consisting of two or three rising whistled notes, wheeet wheeet, wheeet wheeet wheeet.

But just listen to the singing neighbor in the background. At first (0:03), he sings a very different song consisting of three rapidly descending notes, but by 0:07, just one song later, he matches the song of the foreground male, and he continues to do so over the rest of this selection .


Raindrops continue falling from the trees, thanks to an overnight rain. The daytime song of a northern parula can be heard, as well as another bird I can't quite identify--perhaps a summer tanager, at 1:04, 1:11. And an American goldfinch.


Photo by John Van de Graaff