Listening to a Continent Sing

the companion website to the book by Donald Kroodsma


Sweetwater River, Split Rock, near Jeffrey City, Wyoming

June 11, 5:15 a.m.

Sunrise at 5:33 a.m.

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The sora piques my interest, as two birds seem to be involved, each giving its own distinctive descending whinny, whee-hehehehehehehe-he-he-he-hee-hee-hee-hee-hee.

The first whinny is rapid and exhilarating as it plummets in frequency and then extends more than six seconds. In contrast, the second whinny is slow and deliberate, sounding higher in frequency.

I'd love to know more about these soras. Are these consistent differences between two individuals, and, if so, are the differences due to gender? I have a hunch that's correct, as I have read that the female's whinny is shorter, of higher frequency, and more variable (Birds of North America).

The grunting call at 0:35? I am quite sure that's the Virginia rail who, just by chance, isn't giving his kick kick ki-dick ki-dick ki-di-dick ki-di-dick ki-di-dick! at the moment (see WY-237).


Red-winged blackbirds, and the strong headwind that bicyclists face as they head west.


Photo by John Van de Graaff