Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Appalachia: Damascus, Virginia

May 15, 7:30 a.m.

Sunrise at 6:21 a.m.

Download the Recording

Bert Snodgrass grew up on a farm in a little place called Friendship; you could look it up and find that Loves Mill Road runs right through it, just ten or so miles to the northeast of Damascus. Now he runs the "In the Country Eatery and Bakery" in Damascus, with an ice cream shop on the side. If you're in town, I can vouch for the food--breakfast was outstanding.

Bert never claimed to know a lot about birds, but I pressed him, and he spilled all that he knew: "There's lots of colors to them, they fly, and they eat worms." He misses hearing the bobwhite, which has become increasingly rare; is a bit puzzled by the Canada geese hanging around all winter; appreciates that the Appalachian Trail put Damascus on the map, but says that it is the Virginia Creeper cycling trail that has saved the town, with 1500 or more bicycles cruising down the mountain on a good Saturday in October.

Here is a brief sample of Bert's voice, telling how he enjoys the dawn chorus and misses the bobwhite.


Mostly downtown auto traffic in Damascus, plus a few songbirds, such as song sparrows.


Bikes at Bert's