Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

June 2, 7:14 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:41 a.m.

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Some of the best things in life are all too brief. Here is a Cassin's finch singing quietly in the treetop, apparently courting a female, and he lets loose with a fascinating, continuous series of mimicked sounds.

What all do I hear? I hear . . .

1) an American robin call (tut, at 0:01 and again at 0:04, 0:05, and more)

2) the galloping chant of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet (0:02, 0:12)

3) the Klee-yer! call of a northern flicker (0:04, 0:12)

4) a dark-eyed junco song (perhaps; 0:06, also at 0:08)

5) a different American robin call (0:01, 0:07, and again at 0:09)

6) maybe calls of a red crossbill (0:11, 0:17),

but I'm sure there's more in there that I don't recognize.

What a surprise to hear all that he's capable of doing. You'd never guess based on his more common songs (WY-264) all that he has up his sleeve!


The muted roar of geysers and the Firehole River in the Upper Basin at Yellowstone National Park.


Photo by Brian L. Sullivan