Thursday, October 06, 2005

Things that go rasp-y hissing screech in the night....

Lately I have been waking up in the night or the early morning hours (before the sun comes up) and hearing nocturnal animals in our yard. I mentioned in an earlier blog entry about hearing a lot of owls out there lately. Well last night I heard a doozy.

It sounded, to the best of my knowledge, like the rasping hissing rattling scream of the barn owl. It was really loud too! It sounded like it was right in our yard.

I also heard some little chirping sounds around the same time, like a raccoon. Do raccoons make a loud drawn out hissing/screaming sound like that? Or does some other animal?

The thing is, I think barn owls are rare in this part of New York State. I don't really think it was a barn owl, although, who knows? It's the closest I can find to the sound I heard.

I have been looking on the web to see if maybe another (more common NY State) owl might also make this weird sound. I mean, I know their basic calls but often it seems that birds have a repetoire of calls that aren't always the ones commonly thought of as being associated with them.

I wasn't scared, although it did give me a thrilling sense of what and owl must seem like to a mouse, vole or mole. I saw in my minds eye a ghostly owl swooping down from above and its huge talons coming at me...

There is a whole world of stuff going on while we sleep. I wish I had gotten up and poked around in the yard with a flashlight, maybe I would have seen it. I was feeling lazy and sleepy though, and I knew it was cold outside, so I rolled over and stayed under my warm covers. When I hear these nocturnal sounds I'm usually in this dreamy state in between being asleep and awake and the sounds are very surreal.... there is an otherworldly light in the room and I almost feel like I could go back to sleep and be lucid in my dream, or come out of my body and fly out to the owls... Maybe next time I will.

UPDATE: With a little internet searching I have discovered that raccoons do, indeed, sometimes make a hissing/screeching sound which has been compared to the screech of an owl. So I bet that's what it was. I'm a big fan of the raccoons although I don't really want to meet an angry raccoon in a dark alley anytime soon. :-)


Blogger Jonniker said...

Raccoons are just fascinating to me. One night we came home to find one plopped down on his fat ass, sitting next to our garbage cans with a tub of cream cheese. He alternated between scooping it out with his hands and eating it, and using a celery stick to get large globs out, then lick it like an ice cream cone. Weird little animals!

7:25 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

Rabbits can make some weird sounds when they are being attacked also,,
Raccoon are something, when I was at the first veterinary hospital I worked for we use to get raccoon brought in all the time, we would rehabilitate them then turn them loose in a nearby state park. Try walking a wild raccoon on a leash,,, much fun...
My mother was trying to trap wild cats, and seemed to only get raccoons that I would have to release,, some battered up from trying to escape before I could get to her house,, they do make some chirping noises that are very strange.... I love them,,, but they are wild,, as cuddly as they may look. I got to hold a barn owl down at a veterinary clinic in SC,, it was awesome,, they are sooooo beautiful. When I win the lottery,, wild animal rescues will be one of my first projects.

1:51 PM  
Blogger ticharu said...

We hear some pretty wild sounds up here as yo know. The other night it was a ghastly oder, most likely skunk, but so close, like nothing I've ever smelled before, followed by what I think was a deer exhaling in displeasure, over and over and over. In the dead of night the whole event was pretty freak.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Trina said...


Sounds to me like coonies bickering over food. If you ever want to get a good look at them at night, put out some cream-filled vanilla cookies and get together a strong flashlight. The info from my wildlife rehab groups suggests that this is the best treat to get raccoons close enough and interested enough in the food to stick around while you scope them out. Raccoons are a lot like ferrets, and make some odd-sounding noises when they're out running around and being themselves!


2:30 AM  
Blogger As always... Rachael said...

I loved your comment on my last blog... that was so appropriate, and I had never heard that quote (but I'll be using it in the future).

It's pretty quiet here at night, but when I lived in the country the animals were more noisy. I loved the music of thriving raw nature.

1:18 AM  

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