Humans have been falling asleep to the droning of insects since they became human. The repetitious mating songs of crickets, tree crickets, bush crickets, katydids and other singers naturally relaxes us (unless it’s house crickets inside your house). Crickets can also serve as an early warning system: the sudden stop of their calling may indicate the approach of danger. And, of course, they can tell us the temperature. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, you can calculate the temperature as follows:
To convert cricket chirps to °F, count the chirps for 14 seconds, add 40.
To convert cricket chirps to °C, count the chirps for 25 seconds, divide by 3 and add 4.
These formulas only apply to Snowy Tree Crickets in the eastern US. Snowy Tree Crickets in the western US call at a slightly faster rate. The following recordings present some afternoon and evening choruses of crickets in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico.
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Streamside Crickets (8:47)
I was on a hike along the San Pedro River in southeastern Arizona on a late November afternoon, when I heard these crickets calling. I was surprised to hear the crickets calling that late in the year, but they sounded so lovely singing with the water in the background that I couldn’t resist recording them.
Recorded on the San Pedro River, AZ, on November 1, 2013.
Crickets in the Pines (6:27)
High up in the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona, as the birds were really gearing up for their breeding season, so were the crickets. Listen for the night calls of the Mexican Whippoorwill.
Recorded in the Chiricahua Mountains on May 21, 2013.
After the rain (25:00)
I was in southwestern New Mexico, camping outside of the tiny town of Cliff when I got caught in a heavy thunderstorm and downpour. The rain stopped by sundown, leaving the vegetation soaking wet and water dripping from the junipers I was camped under. I was in a small grove of trees, not far from the cottonwood-lined riverbank and some agricultural fields. Apparently, that is great habitat for crickets. As soon as the trees stopped dripping, I set up the mic and recorded this lovely symphony of crickets – at least 3 different species all calling at different frequencies and rates.
Recorded along the Gila River, near Cliff, NM, on September 20, 2013.
Gila Crickets (24:33)
Ten days after the downpour of the previous recording, I camped downstream along a quiet stretch of the Gila River, inside the riparian forest. The river was receding from a large flood, and the crickets and cicadas were singing like crazy. This recording was made under a tall cottonwood canopy.
Recorded on the Gila River, near Cliff, NM, on September 30, 2013.
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