Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Dubois, Wyoming

June 20, 5:41 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:37 a.m.

Download the Recording

A western warbling vireo, singing beside the bicycle hostel in Dubois, Wyoming. I left the recorder here, aiming up into the tree, to capture whatever was on this bird's mind.

What is it about these songs that are so different from those of the eastern bird (IL-124)? My first impression is that these songs are shorter than a good eastern song. These western songs do have highs and lows, and the high notes are typically the loudest, but the rhythm is so fast, with the song rising and falling so abruptly from one phrase to the next that it doesn't give the same gentle, undulating feeling as does the eastern song.

The standard mnemonic just doesn't seem to apply to this western warbling vireo, as it's difficult to hear from this bird If I SEES you, I will SEIZE you, and I'll SQUEEZE you till you SQUIRT!Perhaps some day the eastern and western warbling vireos will be considered different species.


Squirrel, ruby-crowned kinglet, red-breasted nuthatch, mountain chickadee, olive-sided flycatcher


Photo by Wil Hershberger