Sounds in the Night

I have a habit of listening to things. It has made me a “super spy” around the day care since I can tell what the kids are up to with my ears. Silence is the biggest alarm for naughty behavior! Someone has the baby powder behind my living room chair or, in one case, my dog was getting a make over with toothpaste. Listening is a skill that many people lose as they busy themselves about adulthood.

The best listening place is in the forest. I teach my kids to identify birds by their songs. Many years ago, a day care mom stopped me in the grocery store. She said the grandmother of her tots was taking them for a walk and they stopped frequently to comment on the unseen birds. “I hear Mr. Bluejay!” said her youngest. The grandmother knew immediately where that kind of observation had come from. It was so wonderful that the mother let me know the influence I had had.

I’ve become pretty good at sound identifications so therefore this story just may carry a bit more credibility to the reader.

We (my family) and I used to camp at a local ski resort during the summer. The wooded hills and wild areas were plenty there. One evening we were sitting out after dark and heard the strangest “animal sound”. A trilling growl is the closest I can describe it. With that sound came an occasional rustling in the shadows. It went on for about half an hour and was quite unsettling. We knew the sounds of black bears and moose neither applied. I wondered if it was a bobcat. It could have been. Cat was my guess!

A day later, I was home busying myself with supper as my husband watched Animal Planet. I literally dropped a dish in the sink and ran to the TV. That sound! The identical”mystery” sound was playing and it was the sound a cougar makes to keep her young close to her after dark. I watched the remainder of the segment in awe. The fact that I was not watching ,in the first place, made me trust my ears even more. My husband agreed that the sound seemed right to him also. We did not hear it again but since that time I have believed that we had a close encounter with a cougar. (We heard no bobcats at all that season.) My research said that cougars of the Northeastern US were extinct. Environmental police cannot know everything. I have still held on to my belief that cougars DO exist in this area. Yesterday, I found this article online:

Mountain Lion Loose In Greenwich, Conn.

Updated: Thursday, 09 Jun 2011, 8:36 AM EDT
Published : Thursday, 09 Jun 2011, 8:25 AM EDT

GREENWICH, Conn. – Connecticut environmental officials say it appears the big cat that has been spotted roaming the town of Greenwich is a mountain lion.

Department of Environmental Protection officials are basing that conclusion on paw prints and a blurry photo of the animal.

Mountain lions have been declared extinct in this part of the country, but DEP officials say this could be an animal that has been released or escaped from a local handler.

Police say there have been three sightings of the large cat in the last week, the latest on Sunday near the Brunswick School.

A charity walk scheduled at the prep school for the weekend has been moved because of concern for the safety of participants.

Copyright Associated Press, Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

I’ll be watching for an update to this story…you know what I believe….

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2 thoughts on “Sounds in the Night

  1. Dear Susan,

    I knew it was that of a Cougar when you said what you heard. Have you by any chance ever heard the mating call of a Cougar? If so, the hair would have stood up on your whole body. It sounds very much like a woman screaming like she is being killed.

    One night in the 1980s, we were sound asleep, with out windows open due excessive summer heat in the southern California area we lived in. It was about midnight. I was woken out of a sound sleep with a blood curdling scream. I sat straight up in bed, and my blood ran cold. I grabbed the phone, as I was about to dial 911. Then, something told me to listen to see if it might have been either my imagination, or maybe I could tell from where the sound originated. Within about 15 seconds, I heard the sound again, This time, I was fully awake, and was able to take in the entire screaming noise. I noticed that I had heard very clearly, all but the trailing off of the end of the scream.

    It became obvious that this was not a human voice, but a Cougar wandering through our neighborhood, as I could hear as the animal moved, with the call coming from slightly different places, as the cat wandered farther and farther away. Every dog in the neighborhood was also sounding alarm.

    I have never heard it again, but I will certainly never forget that sound, as long as I live. But, I also would now instantly know the difference between a woman’s scream for help, and that of the Cougar. We do have many Mountain Loins in this area, and they even occasionally go down to the lake, but since it’s usually at night, few if any people ever see them.

    • I enjoyed your story! A raccoon fight can sound like screaming people too. I know exactly what you mean by listening for the dropping tones after the screeching…thanks for the validation and for your friendship! Be well!

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