Aug 20 2013

Are My Ears Ringing?

Published by at 7:15 am under Insects, Fish, Frogs,Schenley Park

iBroad-winged tree cricket, Oecanthus latipennis (phoito from Wikimedia Commons)

This month as I enter Schenley Park and walk up tree-lined Greenfield Road I begin to worry.  With the sound of the expressway on my left and street traffic on my right my ears are overloaded with an additional high-pitched noise.   Are my ears ringing?

I experiment by looking up while listening.  It's worse.  I plug my ears.  It's a little better.  The sound of traffic makes it hard to pick out.  What is that high-pitched whirring sound?

August is bug season so I've come to the conclusion that the sound is tree crickets, probably one of these (click here).  Maybe the Four-spotted tree cricket (Oecanthus quadripunctatus) who sings day and night and is common along roadsides.

To give you an idea of what I'm hearing, click here for the four-spotted tree cricket and a video with his song.  (The video repeats with a pause at the end.  The sound on Greenfield Road never pauses, there are so many.)

I would try to find these insects but all the online sources say they're very hard to see -- and that's coming from the experts!  So I'm accepting this as the song of tree crickets and resting assured that my hearing is not in danger.

For more information on tree crickets I recommend this website: Tree Crickets Sweet Sounds of Summer by Nancy Collins at where you can find close-up photos, songs and videos.


p.s.  In settings with less background noise I've noticed the tree crickets are in full force this week.

(photo of a broad-winged tree cricket (NOT a four-spotted tree cricket) from Wikimedia Commons.  Click on the image to see the original)

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Are My Ears Ringing?”

  1. Carolynon 20 Aug 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Kate,

    This is a totally unrelated post to the beautiful tree cricket, but I thought it was an issue you and your blog readers would care about. There is an online petition to restore a permit to The Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group volunteers in CA who rescue peregrine falcon chicks who fall into water under bridges while fledging. Their permit was revoked because the Peregrine is no longer an endangered species there (still protected though), and the US Fish and Wildlife Service feels the rescues are no longer necessary, in light of the pressing needs of more at-risk birds such as California Least Terns. 118 more signatures are needed to present the petition to Senator Barbara Boxer to restore the permit to the group

    The link to the actual petition is:

    and more detailed info can be found at, under the “news” tab


  2. Kate St. Johnon 20 Aug 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Thank you, Carolyn. I passed it along to the Pittsburgh Falconuts Facebook page where there are many falcon fans.

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply