Lullabies and caterwauls of northern Illinois

"I adore you, lovely Rosalinda!"

“I adore you, lovely Rosalinda!”

Late summer nights are very noisy in my back yard. First, I hear three species of cicadas singing in the trees. Then I hear more and more kinds of crickets, as afternoon becomes deep night. Then katydids. Then what sound like tree frogs—probably, actually, Eastern American Toads and tree crickets, going by the sounds in the links below.

All this nature is lovely, of course, and when one is in the right frame of mind, one can imagine they are singing their little ones to sleep.

If only.

toads carrying on

toads carrying on

Nope. They are either, uh, carrying on, or seeking to carry on, with female individuals of their species.

Our cicadas come with three songs, Neotibicen linnei, Neotibicen pruinosus, and Neotibicen auriferus.


The frogs in my trees are Eastern American toads (Bufo americanus americanus)

like a million teeny chainsaws looking for love

like a million teeny chainsaws looking for love

To hear thirteen Illinois toad and frog calls, try this site—load them all at once for maximum enjoyment!

We also hear southern and northern katydids.

The crickets turn out to be even more complicated, as tree crickets tend to sound like frogs, while ground crickets more often sound like crickets. (Nature is indeed a mother. And a father.) So far I know we have these crickets:

tree crickets sound like frogs, go figure

tree crickets sound like frogs, go figure

carolina ground cricket
spring and fall field cricket
black-horned tree cricket
broad-winged tree cricket
Davis’s tree cricket
four-spotted tree cricket
narrow-winged tree cricket
two-spotted tree cricket

This snowy tree cricket sounds just like our tree frog. Toad. Whatever.

Whee, she likes me!

Whee, she likes me! -Katydid

And—bonanza!—here’s a site where enterprising soul John Himmelman has made a mix of dozens of crickets and katydids, with entymology notes! This is far more variety than I hear at night in my back yard, but it’s entertaining to hear the amazing range of these concupiscent creatures.

What do you hear outside your window at night?

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Lullabies and caterwauls of northern Illinois — 2 Comments

  1. Fun to hear your back yard; it’s what I remember from my Illinois childhood. But I hear the deer walking on the gravel drive under my window, on their way to my flower pots for salad!

  2. THAT must be annoying, Cee! I now have more bunnies than I used to. Wherefore? Did our local coyote move away? They eat croci, chew the heads off tulips, and trim my baby bald cypress up the first two feet of its trunk. They don’t, however, make a sound afaik.