Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Atop Mt. Rogers, Virginia

May 26, 8:07 a.m.

Sunrise at 6:09 a.m.

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Well after sunrise now, the wind has picked up and surges at times as this brown creeper, together with his neighbor in the background, delivers his simple yet delightful series of tiny whistles.

Though it's tough for the human ear to hear it, this brown creeper in the foreground has two different songs in his repertoire; one he sings several times during the first 40 seconds, but at 0:45 he switches to a new song with a different rhythm and series of whistled notes. He remains well hidden behind the trunk and surrounding vegetation, but at about 1:48 he emerges into the open, his last three songs after that the sharpest of the series.

Listening carefully to the background creeper, you can hear after 0:45 what sounds like essentially identical songs from the two birds, heard best perhaps at 1:05-1:10, when the background bird follows the foreground bird.


A distant house wren, hermit thrush, and alder flycatcher. Flies cruise about, buzzing by. Wind surges on occasion.


Photo by Wil Hershberger