Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Night chorus

For the past two days we've heard a symphony of frogs in the late afternoon and early evening. Down by the swamp the noise is almost deafening!

I don't have a separate microphone for the laptop, but I hoped that the built-in one could pick up the sound since it was so loud. I was disappointed in the quality but I guess you can't expect much without a real microphone.

Here's my short recording of the frogs.

I was able to find a nice page that features a few frog sounds, and learned that most of our singers are Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer). Go there to hear a recording that's a lot better than mine.

We could hear (but couldn't record) at least two other frog species that we haven't identified yet. I think one might be the Southern Leopard Frog (Rana sphenocephala) but I'm not sure. We had those frogs at the water garden at our old house, and I thought I knew what they sounded like... but the recordings I checked seem a little different.

Edited to add:
As a result of them starting to sing earlier than anyone else the next evening, we were able to better isolate the sound, and identified the American Toad (Bufo americanus) as another one of our mystery amphibians.
(end of edit)

While we were down by the ponds appreciating the frog chorus last night, the Barred Owls (Strix varia) chimed in and made us smile even more.

This page has recordings of the owls' "courtship duet". In real life it often sounds like a courtship quartet (or more). The owls seem to work themselves into such a frenzy of calling that you'd swear you were in the deepest jungle.

It doesn't seem confined to just their courtship time either - you can sometimes hear groups of them cackling like maniacs during the summertime.

We heard Barred owls in the woods behind our old house in the suburbs too, so it's not just a rural thing.


fred said...

Great sound links. There's not much moving here yet, though.

We had an owl encounter last year. My wife talked trash with the males.

Rurality said...

Cute story! My husband can talk with them too, but I imagine the owls snickering behind their wings whenever I try it.

megabethcom said...

Yep, there are a couple of owls living in the woods in my neighborhood. I wish they'd eat more chipmunks in my backyard.

mar-mar said...

Whoa, Barred Owls? boy am i in the wrong state! i'm part of a birders' list serve and there;'s folks here in Illinois who would sell their left arm to see a Barred Owl this time of year. anyway, kudos on the toad ID. enjoy.

Rurality said...

SM, I can report that cats usually work wonders on chipmunks. Unfortunately they do a number on the wild birds too... maybe you could train Ruby to handle them!

mar-mar, I'm not sure if Barred Owls are the most common one here or not, but they are definitely the one you hear most often.

We've heard a Screech Owl once here, but not a Great Horned yet.

Dean said...

Barred Owls are special! I am surprised that they are rare in Illinois as I've seen them both in Kansas, where I grew up, and in southern Ontario, Canada where I live now. I even saw them up in Algonquin Park which is about 3 hours drive north of Toronto. The Great Horned Owls were calling here about a month ago but quiet now that it's nesting season.