Pacific Chorus Frog
Boreal Chorus Frog
Pacific Tree Frog
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
Mexican Free-tailed Bat|
Orca ("Killer Whale")
California Sea Lion
Collared Peccary (Javelina)
Harris's Antelope Squirrel
Gunnison's Prairie Dog
Hear the Bullfrog Chorus! - that's right, a collection of 25 different Bullfrogs recorded in one 20 minute stretch at Tavasci Marsh (see the Bird Sounds Page)! This started out as an 8Mb file spanning 15 minutes of samples, which I trimmed down to just one croak from each different frog, then downsampled to 8000 samples/sec, then reduced resolution to 8 bit, leaving us with a 146K file! Remember, you heard it here first!
A Pacific Chorus Frog (Hyla pseudacris) calls from the edge of a stream on Carmel Valley Road, east of Carmel, California, 3/25/99. (34K)
These Boreal Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris triseriata maculata) were singing their chorus in a ditch on a cold May morning near Gunnison, Colorado. (7 sec., 150K)
Here is a Pacific Treefrog (Hyla regilla) recorded at the Elkhorn Slough near Moss Landing, Central California, 3/99. (85K) This second example is from Andrew Molero State Park, near Big Sur, 3/23/99. (128K)
These Woodhouse's Toads (Bufo woodhousei) sing a lovely serenade every warm evening at Peck's Lake, Clarkdale, Arizona. (100K)
Here is a sound that very closely resembles the rattler's rattle - and it's meant to! This is a sound made by the Bullsnake, or Sonoran Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer/melanoleucus affinus) when disturbed. The sound is made by a vigorous exhalation, followed by inhalation. He also shakes his tail at the same time, which can enhance the illusion that you are dealing with a rattlesnake. (16.8 sec, 83K, MP3) Here's a photo of him making this sound (JPEG, 200K).
Another mandatory sound from Arizona is the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) (253K). This one was at the East edge of Tavasci Marsh, and was about 4 feet (1.2 meters) long, and 3½ inches (90mm) in diameter - a big guy! His warning was in plenty of time, and well-meaning. Rattlesnakes are an important part of the ecosystem, as they keep mouse and rat populations in check. They are almost never aggressive, and would rather escape than do any harm to a human.
Mexican Free-tailed Bats are summer residents of central Arizona. They roost in very large colonies, sometimes numbering over a million! This is the species that also inhabits New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns. While they roost, especially close to supper time, they talk amongst themselves. This is what we hear when they're just discussing the night's foraging strategy. (170K) I noticed in the spectrogram of this file (click here to see it) that their vocalizations at roost are in bands - the lower frequencies occupy the 500Hz to 3000 Hz range and the higher-range vocalizing is in the 6000Hz to 20,000 Hz (the upper limit of my mic's sensitivity) range. There is a "gap" between 3000 Hz and 6000 Hz where there is virtually no sound. I'm unsure what causes this phenomenon, but I'm researching it. It could be that they use two diffferent mechanisms to produce the "low-range" and "high-range" sounds. I took the high-range sounds and digitally lowered the pitch by half, and here is what resulted (153K) - interesting! Here is an MP3 in which I slowed the same sample down to one-third normal speed - in it you can get a better idea of what's going on in all this chatter.
Here is what the echolocation of these same bats sounds like when processed through the Anabat II Bat Detector. Two "feeding buzzes" are heard in the first half of the sample and at about midpoint the single bat is joined by a second. Notice that the bats emit pulses of echolation fairly regularly at about 12-15 pulses per second as they fly and navigate, then they increase the rate to about 150 ppm for a "feeding buzz", which is used to examine prey more accurately. At the same time the pulse rate is increased, the pulse frequency increases, this gives a higher resolution image to the feeding bat (more information about the target is gathered in a shorter time). Here is another sample wherein four, then six bats join the fray - aren't you glad these guys are silent to our ears? (192K)
By far the largest animal I have on these sounds pages is the Orca, or Killer Whale (Orcinus orca). These are the breathing sounds of members of the "L" pod of Orcas in the San Juan Islands. Listen carefully and you will hear first the explosive exhalation followed by the implosive inhalation. We know these are "L" pod whales because Kelly Balcomb-Bartok, of Sound Watch, came by to tell us all about them while we were observing. This was a wonderful example of an educational approach to wildlife conservation. Be sure to visit the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington if you're ever up that way. They sponsor Sound Watch and do lots of great work to conserve and study the whales of the San Juans.
Where there are California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus) there is noise! The males love to let everyone know just how they feel about the world at all times! These were recorded at the Santa Cruz, CA pier, where they sit under the boardwalk and play seal chess. Example 1 (116K) Example 2 (150K) (MP3 42 sec 124K)
If you sit in the same place long enough, you never know what will walk right up to you - this has happened to me many times - Otters, Raccoons and now Javelina (aka Collared Peccaries)(Dicotyles or Tayassu tajacu) have walked up and been very surprised to find themselves almost in my lap! The Javelina, for those of you who don't live in the Southwestern US, are a pig-like mammal of the Peccary family (Tayassuidae). They're about 18" tall, and covered with dark brown and gray bristles. They are not really dangerous to humans normally (unless they're protecting young, or you've cornered one), but they do a great imitation of a threatening animal! This pair looked up when they saw me, raised their hackles, took a couple of deep breaths to smell what I was, then she took off and the boar (I think) came charging past me, huffing and barking. You'll hear all this on the sample. (207K) On October 3rd, 2002, a herd of a dozen or so visited my bird feeders (they love to snuffle up all the seed on the ground) and stayed for an hour and a half. In the group were two females with two young each. This recording is a compilation of their sounds that night. Most of the deep gutteral sounds are the mothers warning others not to get too close to the babies. The second half of the recording is a shoat who had temporarily misplaced his mom, and was calling out to her. (MP3, 35.5 sec, 278K)
OK, I'm in Arizona so I have to give you a Coyote (Canis latrans) or two! The first is the typical Coyote's moonlight howl, recorded in Sedona, Arizona one moon-y evening, and the second is what they do while chasing game down. The point of all the racket is to confuse and panic the prey by making it seem like there are a hundred Coyotes after you. In reality this is probably only two animals! (229K) Here's a much longer MP3 file for those of you who have a decoder (if you don't have one, visit my North American Birds page to download a free one. (53 seconds, 155K)
In the fall, the Striped Skunks (Mephites mephites) gather outside our dining room every night to forage on the left over birdseed. There are about a dozen that visit each night - very interesting guys! Did you know that no two have the same pattern on their backs and tails? Write to me if you'd like pictures of some of our "clan". Anyway, here is the sound they occasionally make when one invades another's space - a brief tussle ensues, but nothing serious. (176K, WAV, 4 sec.)
This is a Chipmunk, probably the Gray-collared Chipmunk (Eutamius cinereicollis), recorded 2/28/99 on top of Mingus Mountain, Central Arizona. (46K).
Pikas are wonderful little lagomorphs (related to hares and rabbits) That inhabit the high rocky talus slopes in the western US. They love to warn all the other Pikas and Marmots in the area, using this loud squeak. (273K)
Harris's Antelope Squirrels are cute little desert dwellers - they look a lot like a long chipmunk, with stripes down their backs. They sing this trill over and over in the springtime. This one was recorded in the Gila Box Nat'l Riparian Conservation area, near Safford, Arizona. (118K) In this recording a young Antelope Squirrel seems to be practicing his song as he goes about his daily foraging. The song is unusual with its trailing chirps, which sometimes went on for a minute or more. Recorded 6/27/02 at my house in Clarkdale, AZ. (152K MP3)
Rock Squirrels (Spermophilus variegatus) sing from Spring to Mid-Summer around the rocky slopes of Central Arizona. This one was in the mountains behind Jerome, Arizona, 8/15/99. (117K)
Gunnison's Prairie Dogs (288K) (Cynomys gunnisoni) are the subjects of a long-term study of animal communication by Dr. Con Slobodchikoff at Northern Arizona University. His study indicates that Prairie Dogs have distinctly different calls for specific predators in their territory. The call at the beginning of this paragraph is one they use when the see a domestic dog. When the threat is a human, they use this call (254K), and when it is a hawk, this is the call (232K) they use. To learn more about Dr. Slobodchikoff and his studies, visit his NAU web page at http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~cns3/. To learn more about Gunnison's and other Prairie Dogs, visit the University of Michigan's Animal Diversity Web page for this species.
The largest rodent in the US is the Beaver (Castor canadensis,). I find them endlessly fascinating - they are marvelous engineers, creating new wetlands and maintaining older ones (it's self-serving, of course, but it works for me). In the springtime at Peck's lake they like to eat the stems of the water lilies, right where the stem and the leaf join. Here is what they sound like as the crunch these delicacies! (132 K) When they are startled or sense danger, they let all the other beavers (and everyone else within earshot) know about it by slapping their tails on the water's surface and diving - this is what it sounds like (these are two different instances). (84K)
I recorded this sound near Rosario in the San Juan Islands of Washington state, 8/20/97 - it is probably one of the "Chickaree" Squirrels - Tamiascius spp. - thanks to Steve Summers of Cedar City, UT for ID help! (62K)
When that Charolais Bull in the field where you're recording thinks you're a little too close - he lets you know (and I pay attention)! (117K)
Here's a barnyard favorite for your kids! This calf is calling to its Mom in Grano de Oro, Costa Rica. (117K)