I heard katydids them long before I first saw them. For a while, I would guess about what could be making all that noise at night – perhaps some secretive flock of night birds?
I saw my first katydid clinging to the screen door one night, eyeing me curiously with a slight clicking sound. I described the “big, honking grasshopper” to PAL the next morning, but I think he thought I was exaggerating.
Since then I’ve been finding them early in the mornings playing in the kitchen. I finally made the connection between the night sounds and the katydids when I listened carefully, and realized that they were saying “kat-y-did.”
They aren’t the only ones to be heard and rarely seen – screech owls whinny in the trees at night, and I am determined to see one during my stay in Pennsylvania. I used Google and an Audubon field guide to figure out what they were… somehow, the image of a “teeny, tiny, little pony whinnying in the trees” was a bit much, even for me.