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That Weird Sound, Pt. 1

//That Weird Sound, Pt. 1

That Weird Sound, Pt. 1

One aspect of leaving unattended recorders running continuously in the woods is recording very unusual and bizarre sounds. Two years in a row now I have recorded odd animals that no one has been able to adequately identify.

Around the 5th of May, 2010 I recorded this new sound. It was recorded using a Samson H-2 recorder and a small remote microphone.  The location was in a lightly wooded oak and hickory forest here in Central Illinois. It was several hundred yards from the nearest creek and also about 30 feet from a country road.

Here is the sound: Weird Sound

It was suggested that I contact the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, Illinois. I sent them the sound clip and got the following response.

“Dave Bohlen (ornithologist), Dr. Meredith Mahoney (herpetologist) and I [Tim Cashatt] (entomologist) listened to your recording and could not identify the sound.”

The internet is a wonderful resource and I posted it both on naturerecordists, which is a Yahoo Group made up hundreds of folks interested in recording the sounds of nature, and also on my Facebook page.

I received many responses ranging from cicadas to frogs.

If anyone has a suggestion please leave a comment.

By | 2010-05-15T08:06:31+00:00 May 15th, 2010|My Research|13 Comments

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13 Comments

  1. Ronald May 15, 2010 at 3:45 am

    There is a moan at the end that sounds like a gorilla..plus the beating sounds like drums…no clue what that is but great job getting the sound.

  2. Ronald May 15, 2010 at 3:48 am

    ok now that i listen again(dont want to sound gross) but it sound like something let out the biggest fart ive ever heard…maybe it farted on the recorder and then let out a relieving sigh..wow if that is sasquatch hes got a sense of humor lol

  3. Les Hauser May 15, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Stan: Great recording! To me it sounds very much like some type of prairie fowl/chicken, quail, tomigan, something along that line. I know there is some kind of bird that has a huge air pouch in its throat that allows it to expel air and make the thumping sound. Just a thought! Good luck in trying to get to the bottom of it. Les Hauser

  4. Tim Baker May 15, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Sorry to disappoint y'all: That was just me after eating too much Mexican food at lunch…… Just kiddin'.

    Seriously, after listening, my first thought was like Les, that it might be a prairie hen or sage grouse type of call, or maybe one of the hybrids between the two, but you don't have either of those in Illinois. The second thought was some type of frog. The part that really throws me is the moan at the end. Very strange.

    Running the sound through the spectrum analyzer, it has a fairly wide frequency content, whereas, the birds in the background have a very narrow content.

    I've sure never heard anything like it.

  5. Les Hauser May 16, 2010 at 7:47 am

    Stan: Just a follow-up on the Weird Sound. Tim said in his response there are no Prairie Chickens/Hens in Illinois. I went to Wikipedia (which I know is not the final word on anything) and they had a photo of a Prairie Chicken taken in Illinois. They also show its current range covering the state. This may be the position of their Dept. of Natural Resources people. But they are the same ones who say there are no cougars/mountain lions east of the Mississippi. Tim made an excellent point about the moan at the end. I don't have the foggiest idea of what that might be.

    Good luck! Les Hauser

    • SilentJohn July 8, 2012 at 12:48 pm

      There is Prairie Chicken Preserve in Jasper County.

  6. Tim Baker May 16, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    I could be wrong about no prairie chickens in IL. I'm in NE Missouri in the Tallgrass Prairie area and there sure aren't any here anymore, so I made the assumption (possibly wrong) that there weren't any further east in IL. The only place there is still (officially) a remnant population in MO is down in the southwest corner in one state park.

  7. Joppa May 17, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    The moan at the end is weird, but it sure sounds like a grouse of some sort.

  8. L Surface May 20, 2010 at 9:31 am

    This sounds like someone trying to restart their motorbike, especially since it is close to the road.

    The bike is not going to run.

  9. Howard Drummond May 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    The "buzz" at the end reminds me of the big black bees that burrow in wood , I have heard that sound while the bees are in the tunnels they create. Two sounds at once maybe?

  10. A.J. Ciani May 21, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Actually, it sounds like something on the microphone, beating it. Stan has the tag "insect" in the name of the recording, and that could very well be what it is. An impact would cause a broad frequency spectrum, determined by the shape of the impulse and the natural resonant frequencies of the mic.

    The moan at the end is weird. Sounds like it slides in pitch, from high to low, instead of a uniform tone. This could happen, say, if a bug was on the microphone, and then took off and traveled away. During the acceleration away from the mic, the pitch would change toward lower frequencies and the volume would die off.

  11. C.L. Williams May 30, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Really don't know what the sounds are, but just wondering, as some have said, if it could be a prairie chicken, or maybe a wild turkey, or a frog. Interesting!

  12. Frank March 14, 2011 at 3:24 am

    Sounds like an old compresser on an old Coke Machine. Or not. Grouse would be my guess. The sound at the end is probably the bird letting out the air in his chest sacks… just my openion………

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