Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma

INDIGO BUNTING, Hooded Warbler VA-45

Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia

May 9, 6:45 a.m.

Sunrise at 6:10 a.m.

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With the wind gusting here on the Blue Ridge, jets flying overhead, two male songbirds hold forth. An indigo bunting and hooded warbler sing side by side on a limb overhanging a small clearing beside the Parkway. They take turns, the indigo bunting seemingly in charge, the hooded warbler waiting to sing immediately after the bunting finishes . . . until, it seems, the warbler loses patience with the pace. At 1:00, the warbler jumps ahead, singing two songs in succession, forcing the bunting to delay his next song by two to three seconds. The warbler falls in line again, following the bunting, until 1:52 when he again hurries to a second song, again forcing the bunting to delay.


Red-eyed vireo, scarlet tanager, indigo bunting. Wind and jet


Photo by John Van de Graaff


Photo by John Van de Graaff