Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Highlands of western Virginia: Grindstone Campground, Mt. Rogers

May 25, 7:43 a.m.

Sunrise at 6:09 a.m.

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This dark-eyed junco sings from several rhododendron thickets here in the understory on the flanks of Mt. Rogers; four samples of his singing over about 45 minutes revealed four different songs in his repertoire.

In this selection, I've chosen five renditions from each of the four different types, for a total of 20 songs, so that he sings 5 A songs, 5 B, 5 C, and then 5 D songs. Please realize, however, that he'd rarely sing in this way, with so few renditions of a given song type before switching to another.

In another session, this junco repeated one of these four songs, but it's possible that he can sing an additional song or two, though six is about the largest song repertoire a junco from Virginia would be expected to have.


Canada warbler, American robin, veery, black-throated blue warbler, hooded warbler.


Photo by John Van de Graaff