“Soundscapes reveal many stories about the world’s habitats, illuminating the vital signs of life at one end of the spectrum and the effects of human noise at the other. In fit habitats, the biophony shows cohesion between all of its acoustic sources. In other words, the mating and territorial calls essential to each species’ survival don’t get masked or drowned out by competing sounds. Insects, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals establish their own “bandwidth niches,” which can be expressed as frequency (from the lowest to the highest sounds) and temporally (as when one creature vocalizes, followed by another, like exchanges between the chestnut-winged babbler and the Malaysian eared nightjar calling for mates in Borneo).
Graphic displays called spectrograms are used to illustrate the organization of those sounds, with each creature’s voice showing a distinctive place in the chorus — an arrangement so precise that it often resembles a musical score. To the trained ear, those expressions are experienced much like instruments in an orchestra.”