My vacation at camp was mostly miserable. We were daunted by heat and humidity to the point of sitting in the shade and not daring to move. It felt like horribly wasted time.
BUT, There was one curiosity that we experienced on a nightly basis. This mystery gave me one bright interest in the midst of all the misery and sulking. At dusk, and through the wee hours, we were visited by an odd crying in the night. It was creepy. It seemed to move freely around the perimeter of our camp. The considered explanations were a new bug, a fox lamenting the loss of a young one or a tree frog we hadn’t before known.
As the week went on, my curiosity outweighed my fear of the unknown. There was not a rustle in the bushes when the sound jumped locations. The thought of a bird being the culprit was all that was left. But what kind of bird?
This has been a year of raptors. My backyard in Massachusetts has had daily sightings of hawks, young and old. Other reports of hawks in greater numbers have flooded the Facebook posts of my friends too.
My last late evening brought out the daring in me. I recorded the sound on my camera and pursued it while the twilight still afforded me a view. Suddenly, I raised my hand in victory and followed the path of an owl silhouetted in brief flight above my head. AHA! The owl landed and reproduced his squeaking lament. We finally had an answer. But why didn’t it hoot like an owl? Why did it carry on and on giving away its position?
My son-in-law was able to access the web from his phone and searched for more answers. He found a site which offered immature owl sounds and found that our old friend, the barred owl, must have had young. One of which was squealing in our area. (Gee, I so wish that I had been able to see them in daylight.) I believe there is more than one. Now, as the days grow delightfully cooler, I have an interest in finding and photographing our new neighbors.
The first video below shows you the immature barred owl making the squeal that we have been hearing. It doesn’t seem like much until you consider it as a foreign forest sound from the dark.
The second video shows you what we will be hearing in greater frequency soon.