Wildlife sounds are AWESOME. They are relatively easy to learn and allow you to identify and enjoy animals even when you can’t see them. Here are some resources to get you started on identifying the sounds around you that you may have been missing:
Frogs and Toads
Here in the Northeast there are only a handful of frogs you are likely to hear. Many people are able to identify the jingle-bell like chorus of Spring Peepers
Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)
but you might not know many of the other frog and toad species that start singing their heart out this time of year. My graduate research has involved being able to identify frog calls and there are some great easy resources out there for anyone who wants to learn. The best is from USGS which has a site where you can learn the calls and then test yourself on them:
Click HERE to look up frog calls in your area
Navigate to the ‘Public Quiz’ tab or click HERE to test yourself!
I find learning wildlife calls a lot of fun and frogs are an easy place to start for kids or adults. Go out in the evening at dusk and see what you recognize! Ponds, wetlands, and even unlikely seeming flooded roadside ditches might be teaming with sounds you never noticed before.
The next step might be bird calls, of which there are many beautiful and strange ones to learn. There are many many bird songs and even accomplished birders can’t identify everything. But it is pretty easy to identify the common birds in your area or even your backyard.
Here are a few to get you started:
There is also a great website called BirdJam where you can look up specific calls if you know the species OR you can click on the habitat you are in (woods, field, shoreline, urban/suburban, etc) and try and figure out what you might be hearing. And another great place to turn for bird info is Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology where you can find thousands of sounds, facts, and activities related to birds and birding.
I know less about insect calls, but I just recently bought this book:
And I’m excited to learn more! The author John Himmelman is a well known author of books on insect and other wildlife for children and adults. He also has a website where you can listen though some of the calls:
I LOVE that it’s called Cricket Radio. There are also many mammals that make sounds (coyotes howling, foxes screaming, squirrels chattering, and however you describe the noise a hungry porcupine makes), but there are few guides on them so you might have to search through youtube or find them out for yourself! That’s all for now. Now go outside and keep your ears open!