Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

June 4, 5:03 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:40 a.m.

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A Cassin's finch in what is thought of as "normal song," well before sunrise. He delivers a robust song of 1.5 to 2.5 seconds, then pauses at least that long before offering another. The songs are all pretty much the same, though some are more complete versions than others (most complete song begins at 1:29 and lasts 3.3 seconds).

There's a bit of mimicry in these songs, with one or two American robin notes followed by what sounds like one or two phrases from the song of a MacGillivray's warbler. The second song ends with the two robin notes, for example; then go back to listen for those two robin notes in the first song and to the two MacGillivray's warbler syllables immediately following.


Mountain bluebird, chipping sparrow (rapid dawn singing), savannah sparrow.


Photo by Brian L. Sullivan