Sunday, July 25, 2004

Cacophony of sounds

Opening my window today, I was greeted by a cacophony of sounds. One of the sounds came from the cicadas, enormous flying insects that are often called locusts, although they aren't actually locusts. I've seen some dead ones lying on the sidewalks and they appear to be two or three inches long, with large brown wings.

Their sound is an ear-piercing "acoustic song" that's made only by the males, and is "the loudest produced by any insect." I believe it! I can't even begin to imagine the number of them singing in the trees outside my window right now.

Another mind-numbing sound is the cawing made by huge crows that harass smaller birds and cats. One day I heard a cat and crow in a screeming match. My worst fear was that the crow was carrying off a kitten, as they are known to do. Their nest raids are also well known. Despite their murderous tendencies (perhaps the reason for a group of crows being called a "murder of crows"), I have to admit to being quite fond of their intelligence and trickery. I've even written a children's story about how a crow saved the earth, a re-telling of an ancient, indigenous tale.

Adding to the cicada and crow cacophony is the cooing sound of pigeons and the woeful sounds of mourning doves. There's the screech of another bird, but I can't identify it. I hear it's call, which sounds like a car door buzzer or an annoying alarm clock.

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