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eerie sounds tonight..

July 11, 2014

The crickets in this part of Idaho don’t usually show up until some time in July. Tonight is the first night I noticed them. I was sitting out on my brother’s porch earlier this evening, at about 9pm. I heard crickets, the same kind of crickets I am hearing right now.  It’s almost 1:30 am.

My room is located on the bottom part of a tri-level home. I have a good view of part of the backyard when I look out the window. The floor of my room is about 4 and a half feet below ground level. There is landscaping right outside my window. There are crickets in the vegetation.

The crickets sound different than in any previous years. Instead of the throbbing chirp chirp chirp, there is a constant, slightly fluctuating high pitched sound. It is both annoying and eerie. I don’t like it. It’s worse than the throbbing chirps. I didn’t know a bunch of crickets could sound this way.

Crickets tend to stay on into the early fall. I think last year it might not have been until the first week of October that the crickets stopped. They were certainly something to get used to when I first moved here. Cricket sounds out in the night can be very pleasant. But these pale Idaho crickets.. not so much.

The other sound I heard.. others might consider it eerie, and I suppose it is, but I like it. It is the sound of a Western Screech Owl. I know this because I spotted an owl in my backyard in late afternoon on a day.. hmm.. about a week ago. It was asleep in a tree right near the patio. I only saw it because I heard an agitated hummingbird, and looked up, expecting to see the bird fluttering near a squirrel. I think the hummingbird has a nest up in that tree. I don’t think squirrels are a threat to hummingbird nests, but still, birds in general don’t like any other creatures near their nests. I’d previously seen a hummingbird trying to chase of a squirrel in the same tree. I know how hummingbirds sound not only because I heard the bird before seeing it when it was bothering the squirrel, but also because hummingbirds moved near my home in CA the last year I was there.

Last week, I heard a bothered hummingbird, looked up, and was shocked to see an owl. Even though I’ve worked with owls in the past, as a wildlife caregiver, I was not sure what kind of owl this was. It looked bigger than the Western Screech Owls I’d worked with back in California.

I got out my Sibley Bird Guide, and checked the owl pages. Yes.. a Western Screech Owl. I then looked up the owl on youtube to see what it sounds like. Just like the sound I had heard less than a week before spotting the owl in the tree… and just like the sound I heard aways off just a few minutes ago.

You can hear the sound of the Western Screech Owl in this video (I didn’t make this one. I’ll post another entry a bit later with two videos I made of the sleeping screech owl and hummingbird I saw in my backyard).

I like being a night person. I get to hear owls. It’s quite rare to hear an owl in this area. And most people won’t hear it because they are asleep.

A downside of being a night person.. hearing these crickets! Definitely an eerie sound, and not one I like. I hope they will not keep me awake. I suppose I will get used to them eventually.

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