Listening for singing insects

By Bella Little

On Sept. 20, the Ohio Young Birders Club (OYBC) went on a trip to the Cedar Bog. Jim McCormac was there to give us a tour and slideshow about the underestimated singing insects. The singing insects we found, are not grasshoppers but katydids, cicadas and crickets. These insects truly sing by using a “clicker” to make their vibrating sounds. Jim showed us many of these insects and we also listened to their calls.

Eventually, we went outside at dusk and began to walk down the boardwalk. Jim almost immediately showed his skill as he identified a Woodcock as it was quickly flying past just by its quiet call. As it began to grow darker, we switched on our flashlights and headed deeper into the forest. We quickly began to find larvae of the insects we were looking for, and we eventually found a tree cricket. We even found an assassin bug eating its prey, where Jim showed us how to take pictures of scenes like this in the night.

As it got darker (and colder), our group started the trip back. As we did so, we found more spiders, such as orb spiders, and even a crab spider. A great find was a tiny bit of bioluminescent plant or moss that glowed faintly when we turned our flashlights off. As we slowly came back in groups, we were having a great time listening to the singing insects and the sounds of the night in general, and it was thanks to Jim McCormac that we had such a good time.

Check out the video presentation for this trip. You also can view a photo album for this trip.