Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Nighttime Screeching

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Two nights in a row now. High pitched snarling, screeching growls in the darkness. We are grateful to be sleeping indoors, even if the sound leaks through our windows and doors enough to be audible. In the cold darkness, it must sound magnitudes more unsettling.

It wasn’t originally obvious what was going on, since we have heard the cries of rabbits being preyed upon, intense yelping from packs of coyotes, and rare screeches from owls in our woods on various occasions. This seemed to hold elements from any and all of those.

When there was no evidence of any carnivore activity to be found on the morning after the first night of terrorizing sounds and the screaming resumed the following night as darkness settled over the land, my suspicions about the source coalesced.

For reasons that completely evade my understanding, both Delilah and Pequenita showed no hint of reaction to the angry creature sounds happening just beyond our walls. They both seem to react to a myriad of other triggering sounds occurring beyond my range of hearing, but this drama that was catching my attention mysteriously meant nothing to them.

I pressed my ear to the glass of the back door to gauge the distance and direction to the source of the creepy screams as I attempted to silently work the latch. As soon as the door cracked open, the sounds stopped. There was no echo, no winding down of conflict, no sounds of movement. Only silence. Instant silence.

Standing motionless outside the door, holding it closed but not latched to avoid making a single sound myself, I hoped to outlast whatever creature it was that was smart enough to respond to my appearance with such immediate disappearance. Was it holding its breath?

I was, mine.

It would have to eventually move. Whatever the screaming was all about couldn’t have just totally ended. If it was some fracas between two animals, the animosity couldn’t have just vanished because I showed up.

They, or it, won. I gave up after a few minutes and went back inside. Undaunted, I headed right to our high beam spotlight flashlight to follow up on my hunch. At the back door again, I switched it on and pointed it toward the high branches of the nearest big tree.

Suspicion confirmed. Two beady raccoon eyes glowed in the light beam.

We had thought the masked bandits weren’t active in the coldest months but research reveals mating can be happening in February and March. Yippy! Up to seven new babies possible in April and May. [sarcasm]

That screaming could be males competing for a single female. Beats me why I only saw one set of eyes in the tree limb when the noise definitely sounded like conflict between two parties.

Time to practice our trapping skills again to see if we can improve on the modest effectiveness we had last summer.



Written by johnwhays

February 6, 2022 at 11:48 am

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