Join birdsong expert Donald Kroodsma on a ten-week, ten-state bicycle journey as he travels with his son from the Atlantic to the Pacific, lingering and listening to our continent sing as no one has before. On remote country roads, over terrain vast and spectacular, from dawn to dusk and sometimes through the night, you will gain a deep appreciation for the natural symphony of birdsong many of us take for granted. Come along and marvel at how expressive these creatures are as Kroodsma leads you west across nearly five thousand miles—at a leisurely pace that enables a deep listen.
Listening to a Continent Sing is also a guided tour through the history of a young nation and the geology of an ancient landscape, and an invitation to set aside the bustle of everyday life to follow one’s dreams. It is a celebration of flowers and trees, rocks and rivers, mountains and prairies, clouds and sky, headwinds and calm, and of local voices and the people you will meet along the way. It is also the story of a father and son deepening their bond as they travel the slow road together from coast to coast.
Beautifully illustrated throughout with drawings of birds and scenes and featuring QR codes that link to audio birdsong, this poignant and insightful book takes you on a travel adventure unlike any other—accompanied on every leg of your journey by birdsong.
Awards and Recognition
- One of Forbes.com’s 12 Best Books About Birds and Birding in 2016
"One of the fascinating aspects of both the book and the recordings is that, while chasing after birdsong, Mr. Kroodsma captures so much other detail as well....Listening to a Continent Sing, along with its website, is both an inspiration and a bundle of gifts waiting to be unwrapped."—Julie Zickefoose, Wall Street Journal
"In its refreshing mix of history, linguistics, biology, and ethology,Listening to a Continent Singbrings back the joy and enthusiasm for scientific pursuits that can sometimes wane with time."—Helena J. Barr, Science
"Kroodsma evokes the profound pleasure of rising before dawn to listen to the morning songs of the birds and ending the day with their evening choruses…. An informative exploration of the subtleties of bird songs."—Kirkus
"Birdsong maven Donald Kroodsma's travel journal is a welcome addition to the cycling-road-trip genre that began over a century ago. . . . It's the author's knowledge of birdsong . . . that makes this book so delightful."—Natural History
"The story is charming, funny, poignant, and heartwarming. . . . If you are going to treat yourself to one special gift this summer, make it this one!"—Cathy Taibbi, Examiner.com
"Listening to a Continent Sing will be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in the outdoors, by cyclists, and above all by birders. I have only just begun reading the book, but I already suspect that it will turn out to be one of the outstanding popular birds books of the year."—The Curious Naturalist
"While the book may be categorized as a birding adventure, it is also the story of a father and son deepening their bond as they cycled by day and camped by night together for 10 weeks."—Jennifer J. Meyer, Orange County Register
"Our sophistication in listening to birdsong and our enjoyment have been greatly facilitated by the writings of Don Kroodsma. . . .[Listening to a Continent Sing] provides a delightful, vicarious ride across our country."—Herb Wilson, Portland Press Herald
"Listening to a Continent Sing is a travelogue of Kroodsma's 5,000 mile trip, a celebration of nature, and a multimedia experience—the book is littered with quick-response codes that link to samples of birdsong found throughout the trip, such as the pileated woodpecker and the sandhill crane."—Chicago Tribune
"Coupling these [QR] codes with the website to supply reader support makes this book truly one of a kind. Innovative educators will enjoy the challenge of deciding exactly how to use Listening to a Continent Sing in their teaching."—NSTA Recommends
"Kroodsma has an insatiable curiosity about bird vocalizations and also a deep passion for his subject. . . . This book provides a delightful, vicarious ride across our country. We stop frequently to appreciate the music of the birds."—Portland Press Herald
"An accomplished travelogue written with great style which makes for an enjoyable and highly entertaining read. It is a book to be enjoyed by birders or non-birders alike."—Another Bird Blog
"Kroodsma . . . is to birdsong what a sommelier is to fine wine. With ears as finely tuned as a musician able to recognize a symphony by the first few notes, he identifies a variety of bird species and their many song variations. . . . Listening to a Continent Sing is a feast for the senses and will no doubt inspire many to listen more deeply and more intently on the next walk or bike ride."—Urban Audubon
"One of the quirkiest and most oddly charming travel books you're likely to come across…. The whole package is engagingly chipper, a memoir of delight."—Washington Post
"Do you wish to pursue your dreams? In this remarkable book, the author, birdsong expert Donald Kroodsma, did just that when he set out on a bicycle journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans, recording the songs of birds along the way. . . . Drawings of birds and the countryside fill this handsomely produced book, and the author's birdsong recordings can be accessed from QR codes in the margins. This gorgeous book combines history, geology, travel, bicycling, family relationships and birdsong into one irresistible adventure. I especially enjoyed how the author draws the reader into the places that he experienced through the use of sound."—Forbes.com, a "12 Best books about Birds and Birding in 2016" selection
"No one but Don Kroodsma could have written this book, as no one hears birdsong the way he does."—Eldon Greij, Bird Watching Magazine
"[Kroodsma's] delight in attending to the history and settings of the places the two pass through will leave readers listening better, too—and not just to birdsong."—Omnivoracious
"Will be enjoyed by anyone with a general interest in natural history, or bicycling, not just those interested in ornithology or birdsong. So many themes permeate this fine book you are sure to find much of interest and learn a great deal about birdsong in the process. What a trip!"—Eugene S. Morton, Journal of Ornithology
"Kroodsma delivers a continent-wide perspective on birdsong, weaving behavior, habitat, and evolution into a fabric that is rolled out as he and his son make the East-West journey by bicycle. There is no better guide to take you on this journey, as no one has the breadth of knowledge and field experience with birdsong that Kroodsma has."—Greg Budney, Cornell Lab of Ornithology