ROYAL OAK, Mich. – Ever wonder what an eastern spadefoot toad, common grackle or spotted hyena sound like? A new interactive, educational software application at the Detroit Zoo allows visitors to explore these and other animal calls while experiencing sound in a whole new way.

The Zoo has installed Raven Exhibit software from the Bioacoustics Research Program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (CLO), which uses technology to educate guests about the physics of sound. Available at the Wildlife Interpretive Gallery, the program allows visitors to hear – and visualize – bird and other animal calls through spectrograms and waveforms.

The Detroit Zoo is one of only three zoos in the country to offer Raven Exhibit software, which is also installed in about 25 science museums, aquariums and nature centers.

"Raven is a fun and interactive way for our guests to engage their senses of sight and sound while learning about the calls of the wild," said Detroit Zoological Society Executive Director Ron Kagan.

Visitors can choose from a vast range of sounds including amphibians, insects, land mammals, reptiles, birds and sea creatures, as well as ocean sounds and manmade sounds. Users can play with the sounds by speeding them up, slowing them down and running them backwards.

The animal recordings are supplied by CLO's Macaulay Library archive – the world's largest collection of recorded animal sounds – and are paired with images and information about each species.