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In Guatemala's Rainforest, A Huff And A Croak

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In Guatemala's Rainforest, A Huff And A Croak

In Guatemala's Rainforest, A Huff And A Croak

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  • Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

MORNING EDITION is the place to hear many kinds of wildlife. We have a series, in fact, that brings you sounds that most people have never heard before. It's called Sounds Wild. It follows wildlife biologists as they travel the world. Today's story comes from the Guatemalan rainforest. Biologist Greg Budney with the Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology recently caught this sound of a rainforest bird, the keel-billed toucan. He also heard a secretive and unusual mammal called the coatimundi.

(Soundbite of birds)

Mr. GREG BUDNEY (Biologist, Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology): What we're hearing are two keel-billed toucans, spectacular, large toucans, calling back and forth to one another.

(Soundbite of birds)

Mr. BUDNEY: And in the background, something that attracted my attention is this huffing sound.

(Soundbite of huffing)

Mr. BUDNEY: Which I immediately realized was not a bird and had a very mammalian quality.

(Soundbite of huffing)

Mr. BUDNEY: I was able to see through the vegetation of the trees, up into the upper branches, that there was a large mammal. It looked like someone had taken a raccoon by the tip of the nose and the tail and just stretched it. And it had either noticed my presence or was disturbed by something else in the area and began this huffing sound.

(Soundbite of huffing)

Mr. BUDNEY: I was in a Mayan archaeological site called Qital(ph), in a forested environment, and it's really, really difficult to see all the animals that live there. And if you have to rely upon sight, you're only going to detect a small presence of what's actually there. By listening, you dramatically expand your range of detection, your ability to assess numbers.

(Soundbite of huffing)

INSKEEP: What's that animal think is so funny? The wildlife recordings in Sounds Wild come from the Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology. NPR's Christopher Joyce worked with the lab to get those sounds, and you can see what these creatures look like by going to npr.org.

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