Summer on a trail is often a filled with sounds. Why might sounds change with the seasons? What summer sounds might you hear at dawn, during daylight, at dusk and during the night? Make a list of words describing the sounds you hear.
What insect sounds can you hear? How are sounds made by different kinds of insects? Explore the way some people say you can estimate the approximate temperature by counting the number of chirps per minute a cricket makes.
What birds do you hear? What birds might you hear calling at night?
Why might birds make different sounds at different times of the year? (Young birds may be learning to sing and make other sounds. They may sound different than the sounds made by adults of the same species.)
Listen for sounds of some of these birds. (Blackbirds, Bluebirds, Blue jays, Bobolinks, Bobwhites, Brown Thrashers, Cardinals, Catbirds, Chickadees, Cowbirds, Crows, Mourning Doves, Wood Ducks, Mallard Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, Purple Finches, House Finches, Goldfinches, Flycatchers, Geese, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Hawks, Hummingbirds, Indigo Buntings, Killdeers, Kingbirds, Kingfishers, Meadowlarks, Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches, Phoebes, Red-eyed Vireos, Robins, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Chipping, Clay-colored, Fox, Lincoln's Savannah, English, Song, Tree, White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows, Starlings, Tree and Barn Swallows, Rufus-sided Towhees, Turkeys, many kinds of Warblers, Cedar Waxwings, Downy, Hairy Pileated, Red-bellied and Red-headed Woodpeckers, Wood Pewees, House and Sedge Wrens and others) Use recordings to learn some of the bird songs and compare those with what you hear out of doors.
Listen for the sounds your steps make on dry ground or wet ground as you walk. How does the sound change with the weather? What words can you use to describe the sounds?
What sounds made by mammals, people, or objects do you hear at different locations along the trail? Which sounds are made by animals trying to communicate warnings, joy, sadness or other ideas?
View and listen to the "Frog and Toad" video on this website.
Learn to identify the many songs of frogs toads that sing in spring in this area. (Gray Tree Frog, Green Frog, Leopard Frog, Spring Peeper, Wood Frog and American Toad)
Citizen Scientists may listen for animal sounds and record and report what they hear to research groups. (Frog counts, bird counts, etc.) Talk to someone in your community who has done this.
Sounds Sources that Have Changed
What sounds could be heard on a summer walk today but not a century ago? What sounds might have been heard long ago but not today? (Sounds of certain animals, kinds of transportation, certain workers)
What industrial sounds can you hear? What sounds related to activities of people in the area can you hear? (Traffic, loud speakers or public address systems, music broadcasts, school activities, sounds of people or machines at work)
Some people take walks while wearing headphones. They cannot hear the sounds in nature while they cover their ears with headphones. Think about what they might miss on a trail walk.
What is noise pollution? What sounds might annoy people who have differing needs and interests? What local laws exist to protect people from noise pollution?
Music Written by People to Express the Joy of Summer
What songs or music describe summer activities?
What kind of music might a composer make to go with pictures of what you see or experience on a trail?
Learn about Garth Neustadter. Garth is the grandson of Fred and Eleanore Duerr, people who once lived north of the Kuse Nature Preserve. Mrs. Duerr was a teacher in the Medford Public Schools. Garth wrote the music for a film about John Muir, a famous naturalist. Garth received an Emmy award for his beautiful music.
Written by Dr. Loretta Kuse and Dr. Hildegard Kuse