In wilder areas deer snort, coyotes yip and raccoons scream. In a few more weeks insects will add to the nocturnal din. The sounds of katydids and snowy tree crickets dominate warm, dark summer nights.
Katydids are large green grasshoppers. They often come to porch lights. Their green textured outer wings look like leaves, near perfect cryptic coloration.
The best way to recognize a katydid at night is by ear. Males sing from early evening well into the night. The song is harsh, burry, and sounds something like "Ch-ch" or "Ch-ch-ch" or "ch-ch-ch-ch." The phrases are repeated about once a second, and the rhythm suggests the insect's name: Ka-ty, ka-ty-did or kay-ty-did-did.
Snowy tree crickets are sometimes called the "thermometer cricket" -- count the number of chirps in 13 seconds, add 40 and you have a rough estimate of the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit. Though not precise, these estimates are based on the observation that snowy tree crickets sing faster when temperatures are higher.
By late summer, night-bird voices fade, and insects rule the airwaves.
To hear any of the bird sounds I've mentioned this week, visit www.allaboutbirds.org/guide and type a species name in the search box.
Contact Shalaway via email at sshala...@aol.com or 2222 Fish Ridge Road, Cameron, WV 26033.