Night time sound in the woods

civilengr3(6a NE.TN)July 30, 2009

I've lived in woods all my life, and the other night I heard a sound I'd never heard before. Not sure that this is the right forum, but I can't think of anywhere on the internet with people more knowledgeable and willing to help so here goes.

It sounded like a deep-throated croaking sort of sound, almost like some animal hacking on a bone. Lasted for about 1-2 seconds, and would do it around 3 times each time. It would do it about every 60-120 seconds, and lasted for about 1 hour. I think it was a bird, because it seemed to be coming from a tree. There was typically a high-pitch whistle a few seconds before the caw sound. (dang, this is hard to describe!)

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ladyslppr(z6 PA)

I think it was probably a frog or toad. There are many species of frogs and toads, most make some sort of sound, some call from the trees, and all have a ventriloqual quality to their calls, making it hard to tell exactly where they are coming from. The regular pattern of calls is very typical of amphibians. I don't think any bird would call that regularly for that long, and there really are only a few candidate birds, none of which sound like what you are describing. Whip-poor-wills and Chuck-wills-widow both call loudly at night, but are pretty easy to recognize - they call out their name. Great Horned Owls make a wide variety of wierd sounds, but I doubt they would call for an hour straight. Barred Owls make mostly deep, hooting sounds. Screech owls whistle and don't call for an hour straight, in most cases. Night Herons might be the culprit here - they make several types of sounds, and aren't real common so you might not have heard them before. Still, my vote is for some type of frog or toad.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 9:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
civilengr3(6a NE.TN)

Ok, heard it again tonight. Here's a better description, which I wrote as soon as I came back in the house from hearing it. Definitely not a frog, or owl.

whistle, lasting about 1 sec, going from high to low pitch.
immediately following, a very raspy, hoarse "bark", which lasts a little less than 1 sec. and is repeated usu. 2-4 times.
Moved through the woods with ease and noiseless. would make noise, then move about 100 feet and repeat. sometimes further. With 5-10 sec between sounds. Was probably 75-100 feet in front of me to begin with traveling from back of property to front, staying in woods line by at least 25-80 feet. All lasted approx. 15 minutes.

I checked the night heron call, but definitely not it. Nor do we have any standing water nearby. I'm bumfuzzled!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 12:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've asked everyone I could think of who might know. Nothing, except the suggestion that *it*'s not moving; *they* are calling.

I don't like this plain text. No italics.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 5:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Maybe you could take a tape recorder and get it on tape or record it digitally for even easier distribution. Then take it, or email it, to a local nature center and see if they know what it is.

Corin-gardener, I agree, plain text really is awful. (-;

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 4:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oooh, I love sarcasm, brandon7. Thanks
so much.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 2:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

since this past week when we had the heavy rains that flooded the creek, there has been a high pitch chirping sound in the woods by the creek. I don't think the birds are awake. So I'm wondering if this is mating season for the frogs. That's the only thing I can think of. What else would it be.?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 11:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
nuggs(8a (AL))

>deep-throated croaking sort of sound
>almost like some animal hacking on a bone
>very raspy, hoarse "bark"

Confirmed for Sasquatch!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 10:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Frogs, or toads most likely. The toads are singing in my pond, the tree frogs have been sounding off, and I have heard a leopard frog also this last week. We don't have bullfrogs but they are really noisy too.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 2:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tepelus z6a SW MI

Maybe an Eastern Screech owl? I've read that the female will bark when she feels her nest is threatened. Or maybe you've found out what it is, since this thread is two years old.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 9:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey there Civil Enger TN -- I'm a EE in MD. Live near the water. I'm fairly sure you are hearing a water bird (not a frog.) Here they are grey, long beak, long skinny legs, body around 14" or so and wingspan probably twice that. Agree with the start-up whistle but the croaking is gross at times and resembles a large animal gagging I think. Have not looked up the type bird but I'm betting that is what you are hearing.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 9:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Storks make sounds like that using their beak, but it sounds to me more like a black grouse (they live on heathlands in scotland and scandinavia)

But I'd try a birdwatchers forum on the Internet. Given your description of the sound, your climate, vegetation and location they should be able to id the bird quickly.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 1:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sad thing about modern AC: with the windows closed, you don't hear anything. I love to go to the mountains and leave the windows open at night...lots of interesting sounds there, and most are from "critters" I cannot ID. Mountain lions mating?? Life and death struggle between bobcat and rabbit? Flying squirrels? Who knows? All interesting.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 9:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
currentriverdenny(7 semo)

The bird groundhog described is a great blue heron

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 1:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Great Blue Heron ...hmmm sounds right. I think other locals have said that. Anyway, the sound is really gross sometimes. When we moved to a home within 100 ft. of the water and spent the first night with windows up -- holy cow!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 12:06AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Poison-free woodland plants
I am planning a small shade garden in the back side...
Poison Sumac Tree
Is this a poison sumac tree by chance? My woods appear...
Woodland Graden
We have acquired a property with wooded backyard,for...
ongoing stiltgrass battle...update
Ran out of wood chip mulch but needed to cover a deer...
seeds for woodlands
what kind of seed can i just throw out in woods that...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™