Mesquite Nightscape

I’ve been working on a soundscape collection I’m going to call Insect Lullabies, featuring recordings that will lull you to sleep, at least when played at fairly low volume. One of my favorites is yet another jewel recorded by my buddy Ted Mack, this one made during our 2005 visit to Chaparral Wildlife Management Area in southern Texas (see Chaparral Concerto for a dawn chorus from the same location).

Ted’s nighttime soundscape features a rich chorus of insects offset by the distant howls and yips of coyotes. I also hear a few calls from a Groove-billed Ani early-on in the recording. About halfway through, a large insect flies right by the microphone. Ted and I had trouble with Kissing Bugs while at the refuge, so my guess is that the wing noise is from one of those obnoxious cone-nosed bloodsuckers that bit me all to heck that very same night . . . well, that’s another story . . . right now, just forget about those nasty bugs and enjoy the wonderful play of sounds:

Insects and Coyotes, 3 am, 21 May 2005, Chaparral WMA near Artesia Springs, Texas. Recorded by Ted Mack.

This recording, I believe, qualifies as a lullaby, but only if played at fairly low volume. I’m thinking about adjusting the loudness of the insects, pulling down the loudest crickets just a bit. What does everyone think? A thumbs up for the “lullaby” aspect, or do the insects overpower you here? Perhaps the near coyote is a bit too loud? Let me know what you think. If there’s a problem, I’ll massage it into shape!


  1. I knew it had to have been a Yellow-Billed Cuckoo because I’ve read that they commonly do call at night, though I have heard them in broad daylight.

  2. Do I hear a distant Yellow-Billed Cuckoo in the beginning of the recording, or is that the ani? I’m talking about a staccato tap-like sound heard right after the first coyote howl. I know for sure that the whistles after the third howl is the ani.

    This is an excellent recording! I don’t think the insects are too loud, nor are they overwhelming, well, that’s pretty much the same thing. I’ve read about how good of a birding spot Texas is. It’s the best birding state in the lower 48 states!

  3. Loved it just the way it was! We hear the coyotes at night here in Southeastern AZ, and it’s really quite soothing. I think lullaby says it all.

  4. I’m not sure what “nearest cricket” Suzanne was referring to, but the one I think could be lowered a little is the one in the foreground whose song is high-pitched almost a cross between a trill and a buzz. The song seems to rise slightly in pitch from its beginninto the end. I don’t know that others would agree; that’s just my point of view. (I have good high-frequency hearing.)

  5. I love to hear crickets at night. I find the sound very soothing. I think if you lowered the sound of the crickets, the other sounds would be too distracting for this to qualify as a lullaby.

  6. This is certainly a wonderful lullaby. I might reduce the loudness of the closer insects a little. I would leave the coyote alone though.

  7. I would classify this as a “lulliby.” The neareast cricket with a buzzing quality to his song could be lowered a little. As for the coyotes, no adjustment needed; I thought they were perfect.

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