Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Highlands of western Virginia: Mountain Lake

May 23, 8:37 p.m.

Sunset at 8:30 p.m.

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Near a cabin (with a chimney) in a clearing in the woods, well away from the usual car and truck traffic for these birds typically heard in towns, chimney swifts whirl and circle overhead on their last foraging runs before going to roost for the night. In pairs and trios and foursomes they come and go, swirling about overhead, twisting me in knots as I try to keep a microphone aimed at them. Hear their wingbeats as they power by (e.g., at 0:44), the wind whistling in their wings as they swoop and dive overhead, chittering and twittering on the wing.


Both a chipping sparrow and a dark-eyed junco sing from this small clearing in the forest. A robin sings and calls in the distance.


Photo by Brian L. Sullivan