Metatalktail Hour: The Sounds of Your Seasons.... or Something! April 25, 2021 11:28 AM   Subscribe

It's Springtime in Vermont which means the little peepers are out and about making their frolicking noises; it's always one of the first signs of things improving and beautifying, weatherwise. What are the sounds like near you? Loud sounds, quiet sounds, fun sounds, musical sounds, new sounds or old sounds. Tell us what you've been hearing around you.

As always, it's a conversation starter, not limiter; tell us about what's going on!
posted by jessamyn (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 11:28 AM (61 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Ahhh spring, when a middle-aged man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of deafening the populace and terrorizing small dogs with obnoxiously loud motorcycles. It is the sound of the season in the mountain west.

Anyway my traditional spring hypomania has arrived and I’ve been cleaning the house like a madwoman. I shampooed the rugs! Cleaned out the fridge! Washed the curtains!

And tonight I’m having actual vaccinated humans over for dinner. I won’t lie, I’m not entirely okay with it. It was going to be outside but now it’s raining and my partner wants to carry on indoors. We’re all vaccinated so I’m being irrational, right?
posted by HotToddy at 12:13 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


The most delightful sound of my year has been the call ducks that spent the winter on the little river at the end of our street. I think they've been around a while, but it was only in February or so that Mr. eirias and I took a close look at these "mallards" and realized they were basically half-sized, with half-sized voices to match. When we would walk to the river's edge, a half dozen of them would clamber out and nip around our feet, squeaking and hoping for food. Now it's spring and they seem to have moved on, so we will have to content ourselves with the trills of the red bellied woodpeckers that are now filling the park just downstream.
posted by eirias at 12:21 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


Baby goat sounds! I’m picking up two one-month-old Nigerian Dwarf wethers on Wednesday. They’re the two polled brothers on the left side in this video. We’re thinking of Merle and Waylon for names.
posted by not_the_water at 12:22 PM on April 25 [13 favorites]


There is a tree right outside my office window where very many chirpy birds like to hang out, much to the delight of the kitties.

Less delightful are the geese who have returned to the creek, and spend a good half hour both in the morning and late afternoon loudly trumpeting the goose drama of the day, which seems to be endless. Competing flocks chase one another through the air above the creek, honking angrily and beating their enormous wings, until the victors finally skid noisily into the creek, sending up a plume of water with a dramatic splash.

Soon after, they all happily waddle off in various directions to lay human-sized turds on every square inch of grass on the property. But that seems to be a much quieter operation.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 12:36 PM on April 25 [8 favorites]


My fucking neighbor who uses his leaf blower every. single. day. I think he's obsessive about cleaning debris off his patio or something because every night from April until November he comes home from work and uses his leaf blower. Fuck him and his fucking leaf blower.

Also, birdies.
posted by bondcliff at 12:46 PM on April 25 [15 favorites]


Our parks have suddenly transitioned from gatherings of hundreds of geese to hundreds of seagulls. I don't know if this year is different, or if I just never noticed it in years past. But, now that I've noticed it, the sound of seagulls in the early morning is hard to miss. The trains start rumbling a little before dawn, then the seagulls start up immediately after. I'm fond of both.

(I'm less fond of all the jack-hammering and asphalt cutting that's going on all day lately. I guess this isn't actually a bad time to do road work.)
posted by eotvos at 12:48 PM on April 25


So happy to welcome back that one kind of bird that sings lustily and melodiously till the last of daylight in the tree outside my living room window. Then there’s bang BANG BANG. Bang bang. Zap! Bang BANG bang ZAP! which means someone nearby is getting a new roof. Also, I live next door to a large Ecuadorean family who love to have parties and cookouts. Just family parties, thank goodness, with music at reasonable volume and kids running around, etc. Occasionally I get to hear a Latinized (recorded) version of Happy Birthday.
posted by scratch at 12:50 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Sounds of mockingbirds belting it out, mourning doves cooing, and blue jays having territory fights grace the morning. As soon as the dew dries, nonstop lawnmowers, edgers, trimmers, and the dreaded twosome of intermittent chainsaws and the grating drone of the fucking leaf blowers commences. My gentrified neighbourhood is now a-swarm with professional lawn crews making gas powered racket from 8am -7pm, 7 days a week. I wonder how WFH people ever hear their Zoom meetings over the constant onslaught of professional lawncare.

When the sun goes down, the lawncare stops and the eternal sound of I-35 can be heard, along with street racing, and massive bass thumping cars. This year there is less onslaught of live music from downtown Austin on the weekend but it's slowing returning.

After 2am it's quietish, with only a few outbursts of doves and owls. The drone of I-35 remains and in the stillest part of the night, the high pitched whine of the cooling units on top of the Texas Health Department (2 miles away) prevents any true peace and quiet from ever being had. The joys of urban living!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 1:02 PM on April 25


Spring sounds of rural Sweden:
Silence (not infrequently).
Great tits, turbo-tweeting at sunrise (which all of a sudden tends to be very early).
My most nostaglic spring sound otherwise is blackbirds warbling in the late afternoon, just before they get cranky and begin chit-chit-chitting.
The neigbor's little white nothingness of a fluffy dog that sounds like someone barfing white noise at full volume.
Freight trains loaded with containers containing Volvo engines heading for Gothenburg rumbling past (luckily, they use no train horns in these parts, otherwise I'd be crazy; the tracks are just beyond our lot).
The likely divorced guy-across-the-street's visiting teenage dangle-limbs-boy trying to get the most out of a motorcycle thingy that tends to stall and sounds like someone's worst onion soup dream.
Actual motorcycles drifting past on the main road in the valley.
Creaking magpies.
Everyone's dearest chainsaw, leaf blower, power sander or high-pressure water-spouter in action on days that normal people reserve for sitting on their porch to relax.
Other chainsawing, far away in the forest, with echo.
posted by Namlit at 1:10 PM on April 25 [5 favorites]


My husband is playing his classical guitar right now (This piece, the human in the linked video is not my husband just fyi). I am a super lucky.

Outdoor noises lately:
Squirrel noises, varied and indescribable.
Cat fights that sound like babies singing opera.
Outdoor solar fountain in the birdbath that growls and wheezes when it gets low on water.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 1:30 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


We have those peepers here, locally known as pinkletinks. Lots of bird sounds, of course. A pair of cardinals are building a nest right outside our living room window. Sadly, I have still not heard my beloved fog horn.

It is not a sound so much but an energy as summer gets closer, the sense of all kinds of biz owners freaking out because there will be fewer seasonal workers this summer, so many houses were bought up during the pandemic there is nowhere for summer workers to live.
posted by vrakatar at 1:34 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


There are Steller’s Jays in a nest in the building’s garage. This is of course very exciting, but it also means that are mornings are full of screams as the parents come feed and (soon, presumably) some noisy chicks.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:57 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Hopefully the pygmy nuthatches will return soon
posted by Going To Maine at 2:01 PM on April 25


Nothing but the dulcet tones of five guys hammering away at the new house going up across the street, in absolutely no rhythm whatsoever. Just bang bang bangbangbang thock thock (the nail gun) thockbangbangthockbang, pretty much every day from 8am to 6 or so at night.

It’s kind of sad, honestly. When we moved in, there was an apartment building across the street, but we never really got to know anyone living there. It got torn down a couple years ago, giving us a view from our balcony we’d never had before. Sure, just suburban Chiba, but it was nice. Then, bit by bit, new houses went up in the empty space, and our brand new view disappeared in chunks. Last year, we managed to gussy up our balcony, putting down (nice) fake grass, putting up string lights, and while I was remote teaching, we’d end pretty much every decent weathered day with a sunset beer.

The final house not only puts an end to our view, it’s also three stories, so it kind of looms over our house from across the street, with windows looking directly down on our balcony, which is a little unsettling. The people moving in are the daughter of our next door neighbors and her husband and kids, so we know them a little, but our next door neighbors are easily the people in the neighborhood who seem the most standoffish, so that’s concerning. We have built pretty solid relationships with most of the other new families, and we chat whenever we see each other. I’m hopeful we’ll get along, and that they don’t mind the (regularly used) smokers I’ve had out in front of our house for the last ten years...
posted by Ghidorah at 2:44 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


right now, the sound of my 8-month-old working hard to grab her little baby gym objects, roll over, and poop. She is a busy bee. It's the best.
posted by dismas at 2:52 PM on April 25 [9 favorites]


The woodpecker that is announcing his availability via drum solos on the cap of our metal chimney.
posted by zamboni at 3:04 PM on April 25 [3 favorites]


Cars.

I live near the road to a growing development.
Over the past year, it has been blissfully silent, especially at night, as people worked from home/did virtual school/went out less.
Traffic levels have been lower than they've been in decades.

As vaccination rates increase, with schools opening and people generally getting lockdown fatigue, road use has ramped up dramatically.

I'm going to miss the quiet.
posted by madajb at 3:11 PM on April 25 [3 favorites]




The woodpecker that is announcing his availability via drum solos on the cap of our metal chimney.

Machine Gun Flicker
posted by Going To Maine at 3:42 PM on April 25


Spring sounds on the north side of Chicago:
- Leaves rustling in the breeze
- Geese, mostly passing through on their way further north, though a few settle in and terrorize us in the parks
- The return of lawn mowing and leaf blowing, argh
- The happy sounds of the kids up the block playing outside
- The return of the crew teams rowing on the river, with the trailing sound of the motorboat for the coaches
- I'd say (other non-geese) birds, but they're mostly cardinals and they've been here all winter
- Alas, the continuation of the shore preservation project on the river (which is definitely a good thing, but the PONK PONK PONK of the pile drivers and window-rattling from the various construction machinery is seriously not enjoyable)

Coming up in a month: the sound of summer, aka continual fireworks from Memorial Day through Labor Day...
posted by sencha at 3:57 PM on April 25


As the trees leaf out the sound of the nearby highway has started to fade. We will plant conifers this year to try to keep the quiet through the next winter.

More people outside in their yards or walking on the sidewalks.

Endless cheeping of the sparrows nesting on the porch.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:34 PM on April 25


Pinkletinks!? Peepers? Oh, you mean the tree frogs! I originally thought that sound came from small night birds. I like their call so much, I've made field recordings near Greenbelt Metro station, which I enjoy listening to here in California, where they don't exist.

And I hear you about the leaf blowers, bondcliff. If there was a gun in my house, might be a murder on my record now. Instead, I model Best Neighbor practices by sweeping and raking my leaves manually.
posted by Rash at 5:40 PM on April 25 [3 favorites]


For everyone fuming over leaf blowers, I hear ya. You might enjoy this song.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:51 PM on April 25 [5 favorites]


We have a fox and she has two young. The poodles chased them into the woods and mom chased the poodles back onto the mowed area. This went on for a couple hours.

Next morning the kits showed up at the edge of the lawn and yipped until we let the dogs out and mom stayed out of it. One of these dogs is a 100 pounds and has a grudge against coyotes and I was worried for the kits but she is ok with foxes. They just played.

Our bear let herself in the barn and ate 40 usd worth of alpaca pellets and they didn't shriek. She has never gone after them.

BellaDonna reminded me about a book so I left a copy on the coffee table for the girls and it vanished. I would totally have those conversations but if this is what works...

Gotta be a better year. Just gotta.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 6:19 PM on April 25 [6 favorites]


I stopped sleeping with the fan going about a month ago, and so now the night is quieter. I hear the cat jump the gate at around midnight, I hear the freight trains going through the station down the road. I hear the washing machine, I hear my housemate leave for work in the morning (I am going to pay to get her fan belt fixed myself, if she doesn't do it soon).

I miss the fan.
posted by kjs4 at 6:33 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


I miss the fan.
Be a good line for a poem. I love this place. I cannot sleep without the fan unless there are no cars or neighbors a habit I picked up in Florida. That or I loop whispy blizzard from old movies.
spring
motorcycles, gunshots, ambulances, loud trucks.
birds, playing horseshoes, a bond fire. Vivaldi in the garage. a steak sizzle, laughter. squirrels fighting over nothing, jostling sod. Wind.
jets which I mostly imagine I hear.
posted by clavdivs at 6:54 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


To be clear, I don't have anything against leaf blowers. Suburban life requires that we live with the sounds of lawn mowers, snowblowers, and leaf blowers. I own an electric leaf blower. But I use mine maybe two hours a year, during leaf raking season when everyone else is using theirs and people have their windows closed. I do not use my leaf blower every single night during normal person dinner time.

And just so I'm not just being a grumpy old man, I also enjoy the sounds of the frogs and the geese. I have been taking regular walks on our under-construction rail trail and although I usually listen to music it's been wonderful seeing the flowers pop up and the trees bud. COVID winter wasn't quite as hellish as I expected it to be (mostly because it never got too cold) but it's great to be living more and more outside.
posted by bondcliff at 6:58 PM on April 25


The creamiest dreamiest soft ice cream
Comes from Mr. Softee
For a refreshing delight supreme
Look for Mr. Softee
S-O-F-T-double-E
Mr. Softee


(It started earlier than usual this spring, which is understandable & totally welcome)
posted by miles per flower at 7:29 PM on April 25


Chickadees having huge feelings about whether they should make their nest in my little birdhouse. Cars belonging to the d-bag neighbors who are allergic to mufflers. Bumblebees. Happy dogs. Bus brakes. Crows and seagulls apparently having some kind of verbal battle over the prized perch on the telephone pole and sometimes also chasing eagles. Kids shouting in multiple languages. Whatever people stuck in traffic on my street are listening to. Hummingbirds fighting. Whatever is beeping within about a block radius. Lawn care and tree care machines, horns and sirens. City background hum.
posted by centrifugal at 7:52 PM on April 25


I have freakishly good hearing (my children hate it, I can always hear them tiptoeing towards misbehavior, and I hear every rude comment they make under their breath). Since we've been trapped in the house for a year, and not that many cars are driving, I now recognize the sound of the engine of every person who lives + drives on this block, and I can differentiate the USPS truck, the Prime van, the UPS truck, and the FedEx truck. I'll be like, "Oh, that must be grubhub coming, that's not anyone who lives on this street." My kids like to look out the window and quiz me, like, "What truck just pulled up?" "FedEx, obviously." Anyway, I'm basically a dog now.

Now that it's finally getting warmer, my kid and the twins next door (who are in the same remote learning class) have been spilling into the back yard at 3 on the dot to throw balls back and forth over the fence and talk at the tops of their lungs in a socially-distanced fashion. They're all just so excited to interact with a non-relative! It's nice to hear shouty backyard children again.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:02 PM on April 25 [9 favorites]


For everyone fuming over leaf blowers, I hear ya. You might enjoy this song yt .
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:51 PM on April 25


THANK YOU JESSAMYN! This song expresses it perfectly. Do these guys live in Austin?

It is indeed a good thing that they (and I) don't have a gun.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:26 PM on April 25


It's nice to hear shouty backyard children again.

I’m high up on the 8th floor in my building so I get a lot of travelled noise from a playground, I don’t mind the shrieking!

Thankfully coming to an end are a lot of construction projects, we are finishing a third national lockdown and lots of my richer neighbours flee to their second homes in the country and get work done on their Parisian apartments! Nothing like constant construction noises when everyone is home all day.
posted by ellieBOA at 10:22 PM on April 25


The seagulls are back. Back across every other roof in town. Back behind the chimney on our roof, immediately above where I am typing this. Back and squawking their lust for each other. A lot.
posted by biffa at 12:08 AM on April 26


We went out to the countryside yesterday (Sunday) to be outside and to take another look at a property we are interested in. It would be fair to say that East Germany kind of froze from '45 to '95 - little was built and what was built was ugly and stop-gap, even the buildings they thought would be permanent at the time. The land around Berlin is empty in a way that the land around a major city never is - there are parts of Berlin that go literally from low-rise urban mash to agriculture in the space of a few meters. It's a little eerie, a little fantastic.

An hour drive in any direction and you can be somewhere that feels as though it has fallen out of time. Dirt roads, old trees, falling down houses and, north of the city, lots of lakes. We sat on the shore of one of these and had a little lunch and listened to a crane making such a loud honk it echoed in the forest. A hawk dilly-dallyed over the water, fifty meters up, looking for fish. Some guy in a rowboat was also looking for fish and his 'oars scraped' - a sound I haven't heard since I was a kid. He rustled in the reeds at the bank, then scrape scrape scrape.

We have a small birdhouse on the balcony that one of the kids made and it has a wooden perch in front of the hole. We get visitors, prospective renters, and each lands with a 'thok!' - and if they move in it's 'thok!' every hour or so. So far we have yet to hear it.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:31 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


The sounds, good and bad, loud and soft, of humans being humans is back! Kids in the back screaming and chasing each other, the smell of neighbors grilling wafting in the open windows, cars and trucks, families out for a walk, lawn mowers, the bells of the ICE CREAM man (seller), and the birds. Never thought I would be sick of the sounds of silence, but I was.
posted by AugustWest at 1:11 AM on April 26


The sounds of sparrows, followed swiftly by the sound of catbeasts trying to go out of the catflap stealthly and failing*, followed again by the sound of sparrows but this time like they're laughing.

The sound of the back neighbours-two-doors down and their constant, infernally loud music that can be heard in my house like they're in my back yard when we have the windows shut. They ignore all requests to turn it down and shut up as soon as anyone puts a noise complaint in with the council so that the two week period we have to monitor is silent. So that's great. Pretty sure every house in my terrace has complained at this point. Yesterday it was 11-9 of music, hooting and hollering. They moved in just before lockdown last year so it's been a Joy working from home.

* they sneak over to the catflap and then spend a good 30 seconds pushing at the flap and then launch out going 'hellooooooooooooooo!!!' so... yeah. The sparrows and I find this equally hilarious now.
posted by halcyonday at 4:26 AM on April 26


We are approaching maximum birdsong here and house finches are by far the best singers.

Bewick's Wrens, which have over 14 different songs, are going strong, too.

And then there are the wacka-wacka-wacka calls of the Northern Flickers, a bird nationwide with over a hundred local names, which, being woodpeckers, love to drum on aluminum chimneytops.

And lastly but by no means all, there are the Anna's hummingbirds. Learn their song and soon you will be able to spot them in flight -- and here you thought you were getting floaters.

Save for females with whom they have mated and their subsequent offspring, they hate each other with a passion and their fights are epic, going from corkscrew Stars Wars bat and X wing fighters chases to hovering beak to beak fencing. I have seen them go after crows and robins, too. The Roger Tory Peterson Bird guide list them thus -- Temperament: Pugnacious.

And then there are robins. What I have noticed this year is that their cheeriup-cheeriup-cheerio songs vary block by block in my neighborhood as if there are familial dialects. One can learn so much by listening closely sometimes.
posted by y2karl at 4:27 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman broadcasting the Yankees game on the radio.
posted by JanetLand at 6:32 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


My fucking neighbor who uses his leaf blower every. single. day.

I live next door to a compulsive grass-mower. Even on Easter Sunday he was out mowing his already-mown lawn. And he only ever uses the noisiest petrol-motor lawnmowers he can get his hands on, including a ride-on one that sounds like rumbling hell. I hate that guy.
posted by terretu at 6:43 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


This is the time when blackbirds and chaffinches set up their territory.

Every year we hope for a melodious blackbird and we usually get one with a small repertoire. I know this because around town, especially in prime parks and gardens you can hear blackbirds almost doing jazz solos. Well, we took them for granted because this year we have none. I can still hear distant blackbirds in neighboring yards and even now yearn for the one-tune birds we had in other years. Here's one singing, found on youtube.

The chaffinch's call is a fun one to get to know because it is very distinctive but also very regional. The Amsterdam chaffinches are different than chaffinches in other parts of the Netherlands and much different to those we knew in different parts of the UK or when traveling in Germany. My favorite is the ones from Gloucestershire in the UK which had a distinctive two-note descending flourish at the end. The Amsterdam ones have a three-note flourish that goes something like G-G and up to D. They are passed on through families and so each year they change slightly too.

The most common bird here though is the Great Tit. Their sound is more like a high-pitched clockwork sound and they go on and on all day. Cute birds but man...
posted by vacapinta at 7:29 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


The birds here are wonderful during the day and the crickets and frogs at night. It's pretty idyllic, save the HOA leafblowers along the pond and that weird "duck dying slowly" sound that is the Amazon Delivery Truck back-up noise.
posted by thivaia at 7:41 AM on April 26


First sounds are usually blackbirds. Usually the cardinals start up next, but they've been quieter this year. Our neighbourhood has recently been acquired by a new feral tomcat, so there's a bit less birdsong and far less rabbit activity. The first commuter trains ding by before six, though there's virtually no-one on them now.

Later in the day the redwings start in with their skuhWEET? and werKLANG! noises. If it's a nice day, someone is getting a new roof. Some people seem to get a new roof every couple of years. Ever since they started digging a great big hole at the subway station, we (okay, I) can hear the door chimes through the day.

Last sound is the Home Lumber train growling along the old GECO spur behind the house anywhere between 11 pm and 2 am. Sometimes hear a coyote howl from the tracks, but if it's summer and the windows are open, it's the doot doot doot of the temporary pedestrian crossing the TTC put in four years ago all night long. It's more than 100 metres away, and I curse my acute hearing for being near it.
posted by scruss at 7:53 AM on April 26


At home, I live just a few doors down from an expressway overpass, and there is always some traffic on there - but I'm just far enough away that it is white noise when I'm at home for the most part. (Super-heavy trucks sometimes rumble and the house shakes very slightly still but that's it.) Once in a blue moon I hear what sounds like either a foghorn or a train whistle, which is odd because I am not anywhere near either a train track or a shipping dock.

At work is interesting. My company is preparing for a move to a new facility next door to where we are housed right now; we've been in a shared-work space in Brooklyn's Navy Yard campus, and the yard has been working on renovating a building next door just for us. We are very nearly done with that, done enough that we're having a big ribbon-cutting shindig with City Hall this week; but that means we just have a couple days to finish painting and putting up sheetrock and installing furniture and wiring up the network and installing all the exit signs and assembling the furniture and getting the elevator running and tiling all the bathrooms and....so I'm over in the new building today (in my own office - for I HAVE an office, holy shit) and I am hearing a cacophony of bangs and drills and power tools and pipes rolling around, underscored by the faint sound of one of the contractors' radios. Also on occasion are the ring tones and alerts I've set up for "whoops, that's the boss calling" on my work cell (a trumpet fanfare for texts, jangly guitar for calls).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:19 AM on April 26


It's spring here in Boston, too, which means I hear the sound of unmuffled engines and thumping bass, all night every night. I've lived here long enough that I don't really hear it any more, but my kids sure do, and it means we can't open the windows for the ~4 days of spring weather that we get every year. The car/music noise is just mildly annoying; the real issue is that the city's violent crime rate has been nearly nonexistent for the past 14 months, but now that people can congregate again, it's spiking back up to make up for lost time. There were half a dozen shootings in the city this weekend that can be traced back to aforementioned crowds of young dudes hanging out drinking and blasting music. And the city is totally avoiding doing anything about it: 311 says to call 911, but (1) ain't no way I want to see cops dispatched to large crowds of Black/Hispanic men and (2) even if someone did call the cops, they wouldn't respond anyway, because of some sort of lingering passive-aggressive reaction to our DA enacting mild reforms around the worst excesses of police racism. Elected reps are sympathetic but claim there's nothing they can do. I'm struggling to come up with anything I can do before the violence spreads.
posted by Mayor West at 9:05 AM on April 26


my neighbors have 8 (?) really pretty and very adorable chickens and I love hearing them bok and cackle all day.
posted by supermedusa at 9:55 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]

The creamiest dreamiest soft ice cream
I was surprised to learn that there's a huge regional divide in the US between two different ice-cream songs: Mr. Softee and Turkey in the Straw. (I randomly learned it from the GreatestGen Star Trek podcast. . . but, it looked like it was true after a very brief bit of online research. I've sadly yet to hear the RZA replacement for Turkey in the wild.)

I grew up in a much more free-for-all ice cream truck environment with lots of random stuff on the speakers. Jaunty, accordian-driven ranchera on tape, recordings of what sounded like actual calliope music, random pop-songs, and occasionally Turkey in the Straw. I'm pretty sure I first heard Entrance of the Gladiators from an ice cream truck. It was always the same food, though, 'cause they all came from the same big local wholesaler. (Later I found out about them and learned that you could buy dry ice for next to nothing there, which was a great childhood discovery.)

My neighborhood doesn't seem to have icecream trucks. There is a truck that sells frozen yogurt for dogs that parks across the street once a week. (I'm entirely serious.) They don't play music. But, it's a good excuse to briefly pet strangers' dogs.
posted by eotvos at 10:47 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


Wow, vacapinta, that blackbird is something else.
posted by y2karl at 11:13 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


jessamyn, thank you for linking that song so that I didn’t have to!!

Mr. eirias and I have been thinking about that song recently because of heavy-machinery work across the street from our house two days in the last week. One of these was in response to a nascent sinkhole that I had just pinged the city about, though, so it’s hard to be too mad — love my efficient and helpful city government. ❤️
posted by eirias at 12:09 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]


I just got a cheap, Caline DI Bass pedal, so the main sound aroud my house is distorted bass guitar, with an unseemly amount of slap.
posted by signal at 5:24 PM on April 26


Apparently there's an ailing tree or two nearby full of tasty bugs. My sleep has been perturbed by "toktoktoktoktok tok tok tok...tok...tok" repeated every 30 seconds or so, for 3 hours, starting around 5ish every morning for the past two weeks.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:58 AM on April 27 [2 favorites]


Apparently there's an ailing tree or two nearby full of tasty bugs. My sleep has been perturbed by "toktoktoktoktok tok tok tok...tok...tok"

Yo! Our downstairs neighbor has been talking about bugs in the joists (his ceiling our floor) and I, cleverly, though I had the solution which was that we have a water-purifier thing that makes a 'tok' sound and it must be that and so last week we finally got organized and set the water-maker to do its thing and went down stair and that was not the sound at all. And we stood there like ... strangely there's no German word for this... people standing around quietly waiting the hear a noise that may or may not be a figment of the imagination of one of them. Just as it was getting odd, there was the noise! and exactly as they had described it - push your thumb against one of your fingers and flick the nail back and forth, it makes a distinct cartilaginous 'flick' sound. It was like that. So weird.

Local exterminator had suggested that you couldn't hear them. And yet. (Missing also is the German word for the relief one feels upon being able to verify to witnesses an entirely odd sensory phenomenon)
posted by From Bklyn at 5:37 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


This is our first spring in this apartment, and apparently the sound of spring is the bizarre shrieky-squawky flybys of the local flock of wild parrots returning. It's not a sound I would describe as remotely birdlike, except that it is exactly the sound I'd expect if you were to engineer a bird to sound as eldritch and obnoxious as possible. I've never really lived near tropical birds so it sounds bizarre and otherworldly but they pass just sporadically enough to be delightful.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 8:28 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]


Oh man, Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? -- we have them in Seattle, too -- but then so does every major city in 43 of the lower 48 states. One theory is that after the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was passed, a lot of pet stores just hauled the cages of birds listed therein out back in the alley and opened their doors. Another is they are the descendants of escaped pets. As there now 56 species of feral parrots about the country, I favor the mass release theory. And man, feral parrots are tough: they got them in definitely not subtropical Chicago for example.

A Field Guide to The Feral Parrots of the US
posted by y2karl at 2:35 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


Spring has sprung when my neighbor Richard is outside shirtless and cursing at himself in the third person.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:46 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Spring in western NY:

*Birdies, mostly too early
*Children; these also contribute to regular and bountiful harvests of whiffleballs in the back yard
*Construction and renovation noises
*The past few years, people taking down dead ash trees (this is mostly done now)
*Starting in winter, these squirrels that KERFLUMP! onto our back-al roof and then SCROBBLE SCROBBLE SCROBBLE jump onto a tree
*One time recently one of the pines in our front yard was just *filled* with crows who were really pissed off about something. Or really horny together, maybe. I don't speak good crow.

Not much in the way of audible bugs yet. That's more a summer and fall thang.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:29 AM on April 30


Here in Vienna's eight district in my tiny Hinterhof garden i hear the hooded crow couple, and since a few days their young. The nest is in another garden in a tall almost dead tree overgrown with ivy.
Last summer the crows killed the blackbird couple. I miss them, they used to come and feed on the worms and slugs in my garden.
And there are black tits, but they mostly shun my garden because of the crows.
And i hear my neighbours, and the preschool kids on outside break (in Vienna preschools are open).
Just after 5am i hear the first tram of the day rumbling by.
posted by 15L06 at 7:11 AM on May 5 [1 favorite]


Just have to share something I heard this morning.

So the apartment just below me is occupied by a young family - Mom is a lawyer, Dad is a Jr. High music teacher, and they have two very little kids (I'd say preschool and toddler). I often hear things from either throughout the day - kids running around and playing, babbling, crying, giggling, what have you; and Dad rehearing various things, or conducting online music classes via zoom. Sometimes he sings for the kids.

And THIS morning, while I was on my way out to work, I heard something delightful - a family jam session to "Not Fade Away". Dad took guitar and lead vocals, and the kids were getting really into the backup:

"I'm-a gonna tell you how it's gonna be..."
"Bop! Bop! BOP-BOP!"
"You're gonna give your love to me...."
"Bop! Bop! BOP-BOP!"
"I'm-a gonna love you night and day...."
"Bop! Bop! BOP-BOP!"
"Love for real, not fade away!"
"Bop! Bop! BOP-BOP!"

You just KNOW that the kids think of this as "the bop-bop song" or whatever.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:35 AM on May 5


The mating songs of mockingbirds are varied, lengthy and mellifluous!
posted by Oyéah at 6:31 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


In the topic of mating birds, the hooded crows made such a racket, unbelievable! But inbetween they "Kissed" with their beaks and cuddled.
Now the adult crows are trying to get Kid crow to come up on a branch from the ground. I hope Kid gets it soon as the parents sound exasperated, if crows we're talking human speech i think by now they get angry. The neighbours cats are waiting i am sure.
posted by 15L06 at 8:30 AM on May 6


I'm with Oyeah, the mockingbirds are tearing it up right now. They apparently prefer to raise young here before continuing Northward, so the six weeks between May 1 and June 15 are always chick rearing season, and they let EVERYBODY know. There are two perennial nests eight feet away from my second floor landing, and they usually have to practice tolerating me for a week or so before they wise up and listen. I also have a water pistol if they start dive-bombing people or the patrol cat.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 6:21 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]

They apparently prefer to raise young here before continuing Northward, so the six weeks between May 1 and June 15 are always chick rearing season, and they let EVERYBODY know.
I really don't get this. I understand making noise to attract a mate, or to warn off competitors. . . but, if you're sitting in a nest with chicks, why draw attention to yourself? Surely it just makes the hawks and cats more likely to find you.

I assume the answer is that the benefits to being a noisy jerk slightly outweigh the negative consequences and evolution is a messy process. But, I'm glad to be a member of a species who can stop and consider strategy before making noise. (Well, many of us.)
posted by eotvos at 6:58 AM on May 7


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