Near a Lake (20:48)
Featured Species: Ruffed Grouse, Downy Woodpecker, American Robin and Yellow-rumped Warbler. After the piano transition: Eastern Chipmunk, Winter Wren, Red Squirrel and Beaver.
(Recorded in Northern Ontario, Canada)
The forest surrounding the lake provides a habitat for many species of birds. In spring, males sing to mark their territory, attract a mate and keep rivals at bay. Species without a well-developed syrinx use a part of their body to transmit their messages. This is the case for the Ruffed Grouse whose drums come from the movement of air produced by the rapid flapping of its wings. The performance of the cock takes place on a promontory in the undergrowth, where the low frequencies of each drumming spread far and wide. If you hear this particular sound in the forest, it will be difficult for you to accurately assess the distance separating you from the drummer. By listening attentively, we hear the neighbouring cock drumming to defend its position. The story is repeated when woodpeckers use their beaks as a hammer to drum on the trees. The hollow trunks of dead trees provide a better resonance than the trunks of living trees. Each species of woodpecker has its own rhythm. However, that of the Downy Woodpecker is by far the best known.
The calls of a Common Loon reveal the presence of the nearby lake. By paying attention to secondary noises, it is possible to hear a beaver eating the bark of an aspen branch. An American Robin and a Yellow-rumped Warbler sing in turn near the drumming log of the Ruffed Grouse.
A brief piano transition takes us away from the lake. Welcome to the noisy world of an Eastern Chipmunks colony! This small rodent usually lives alone. However, if the food is abundant (samaras, hazelnuts, etc.), the Eastern Chipmunk may restrict its vital area, adapting itself to the neighbourhood of its fellows. At the slightest annoyance or anxiety, a member of the colony utters loud alarm cries that can be repeated for several minutes without interruption. Tit! Tit! Tit! Tit! Then, other Chipmunks respond with a cacophony of tit! resonating from one end of the forest to the other. The Eastern Chipmunk also emits a pleasant territorial and alarm sound consisting of a long series of chuk! The singing of the Winter Wren and the drumming of the Ruffed Grouse and Downy Woodpecker accompany the voices of this exuberant rodent colony.
The Red Squirrel shares the same habitat as the Eastern Chipmunk. Its territorial cry is a cackling sniggering for a few seconds, often preceded or followed by strident cries or aggressive chuckles and whistlings. The tone goes up when two neighbouring squirrels launch insults at each other.
In the evening, a return to the lake allows us to discover the sound environment of the beaver. Native Americans call it Amik, the little brother that speaks, because of the similarity between its vocalizations and the wails of a baby. Unlike the Eastern Chipmunk and the Red Squirrel, both diurnal species, the Beaver is active mainly at dusk and during the night. The best place to observe its behaviour and hear its voice is around a beaver lodge. Our sound exploration ends in the company of a beavers’ family busy eating bark, twigs and aspen leaves, not far from its lodge located on the lake shore. Amik, the little brother that speaks, the Common Loon and the Northern Spring Peepers play the last notes of the day…