Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia

May 9, 9:15 a.m.

Sunrise at 6:10 a.m.

Download the Recording

The "dawn song" of a black-and-white warbler. He begins high in the tree with a couple of softer notes, then gives two of his standard dawn chips before singing. It's a four-parted song he delivers, the rhythm distinctively different from his one-parted, daytime weesee-weesee-weesee-weesee song.

He sings at a good clip, a song every eight seconds or so, seven songs per minute.

The "dawn song" given mid-morning? Yes, when excitedly interacting with another male or highly disturbed about something, a male warbler will give his "dawn song" any time during the day. So calling it a "dawn song" is a bit of a misnomer; it would be more appropriate to call it an "aggressive song," but then that implies we fully know the function of the song. Labeling it a "dawn song" seems safer, because it is the dawn chorus song.

You can hear his "day song" in VA-78


Eastern phoebe, hooded warbler, red-eyed vireo


Photo by John Van de Graaff