Listening in Nature programs and classes
I offer a variety of indoor programs. outdoor listening hikes, and combination indoor/outdoor programs to observe the singers and learn their songs. I also have more extensive classes that cover these subjects in greater detail, including in-service training for park district naturalists and Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist programs. I focus not only on learning the songs of birds, insects, and amphibians but also on these singers' interactions and their habitats.
This section of my website has titles and descriptions of my birdsong, singing insect song (crickets and katydids), and amphibian song (frogs and toads) programs. Each category has its own sub-page, which you can find in the menu. The various ensembles give seasonal concerts, and it can be enjoyable for presenters and participants to attend programs that coincide with the seasonal progression.
My birdsong programs vary by time of year and by habitat. The concert constantly changes from the end of January through July, as birdsong ensembles vary by season. In addition. habitats are rather like concert venues. A meadow does not sound like a forest, for example, and each habitat has its own ensemble of birds.
Our first birdsongs of the year can be heard in late January and early February. April brings the songs of the early migrants as well as winter residents who are beginning to sing as they prepare to leave for northern habitats. May is overwhelming because year-sound residents, summer residents, and those migrants that simply pass through our area are all singing at once. Therefore, May sounds very different from the beginning of April or the middle of February! Birdsong continues in June. There are noisy fledglings now, but a number of bird species also have second and even third broods. My programs explore the ensembles we can hear at all these seasons.
The earliest amphibian songs can be heard as the ponds and vernal pools first begin to thaw in March. As spring progresses, more frog species and American Toads can be heard in April with some species continuing into the summer. Frogs and toad songs will overlap with birdsong from early March into early July.
Crickets and katydids are heard on mid to late summer nights and warm September afternoons. These insects are heard more frequently than they are seen because their small size and highly effective camouflage are so effective. Listening opens up this diverse, complex facet of the natural world, often surprising and fascinating program participants.
The prelude to singing insect season begins at the end of May and very gradually expands in June. People generally become aware of the first insect singers in July, and the ensemble rapidly expands in the second half of that month. August brings the entire chorus and the peak of the summer night concerts. The music continues through much of September, shifting to the afternoon as nights become too chilly for them to sing.
Oblong-winged Katydid photo by Lisa Rainsong