Raucous toads
Madikwe Toads
Madikwe Toads [2:08 · download]

 

Recorded in midsummer (December 23) about three hours after sunset at a watering hole in the Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa. The rubbery squawks of raucous toads (Bufo rangeri) share this dense night soundscape with the higher-pitched chirps of crickets and treefrogs.

Each performer here follows a musical score whose notes and beats are unique to his own species. But as your ears settle deep into this pulsating swirl, you hear the calls and responses slip in and out of phase in ways neither rigidly mechanical nor purely random. Is the toad listening to the cricket? Are the frogs responding to the toads? And are they all calling to us?

Perhaps there is a deeper pattern here that lies just beyond the reach of reason.