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Top Bird Song Expert visits Sax-Zim Bog

June 1, 2016 Category: , ,

Don Kroodsma records Connecticut Warblers

Don Kroodsma of Massachusetts is one of the top bird song experts in the country. He is also author of The Singing Life of Birds, a 2006 John Burroughs Medal Award winner for outstanding natural history writing. He came to the Sax-Zim Bog in late May to record Connecticut Warblers…not during the day but at night! He set up recording equipment near a vociferous male Connecticut along Owl Avenue and recorded from dusk to dawn. Amazingly he found that the Connecticut sang quite a bit at night. Don’s theory is that it was an unmated male hoping to attract a female that was migrating overhead at night. See more of Don’s work and books at his website, www.donaldkroodsma.com
From Don’s website: “Somewhere, always, the sun is rising, and somewhere, always, the birds are singing.”

“I imagine the clock on my wall transcending local time and whisking me away to surf the dawn chorus around the globe, and seasonally from the northern hemisphere to the southern and then back again. As a reviewer noted, that quote from The Singing Life of Birds is “a clear philosophy and the best summation of Kroodsma’s outlook on life. In his world the sun is always shining and the birds are always singing. Thank God he’s invited us to join him on his journey.”

I haven’t thought much about a “philosophy of life,” but birdsong certainly does clear my head. Nothing beats waiting in the predawn darkness for the dawn chorus with first light racing toward me at a clip of nearly 1000 miles per hour, the 30 to 45 minutes of energized song arriving and then passing on, heading west, only to return again 24 hours later. Almost as good is sitting at my desk, dissecting a morning’s recordings, trying to understand what a bird had on its mind in one situation or another. Birdsong makes me happy.” —Donald Kroodsma