What animal is making this night sound in northern Minnesota?
March 1, 2016 3:42 PM   Subscribe

My parents recorded this sound at about 2:00 AM on a February night in northern Minnesota. I've boosted the gain in Audacity but haven't fiddled with the recording aside from that. It's in a heavily wooded area not far from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. What is the likely source?

It does sound a lot like a coyote, but seems too melodic for me to be sure about that. Next most likely culprit would be some variety of owl, but I couldn't place it on the very useful Cornell Lab of Ornithology site. And it doesn't have the prolonged mournful wail I've heard from wolves.
posted by theory to Science & Nature (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
sounds like a loon to me. Maybe compare to this video?
posted by daisystomper at 3:46 PM on March 1, 2016

This was in the dead of winter with all lakes frozen over, BTW, so no loons about.
posted by theory at 3:52 PM on March 1, 2016

It sounds like a dog to me, maybe on the smaller side (like 30ish lbs) although my big dogs can make similar light hooty (piss-yourself-if-you-don't-know-it's-them) howls when they hear/smell something especially compelling.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:55 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Actually, my late greyhound had a softer spooky roo that was pretty close to the same pitch. He'd do it when he heard a siren really far away that I couldn't hear.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:57 PM on March 1, 2016

Sure sounds like a coyote to my native Minnesotan ear, although I do think it's odd that it sounds that solitary; more often than not you'll hear a chorus of them together with lots of chirping and barking as they discuss whatever it is coyotes discuss.

Little too high from a normal wolf call, being that last year's pups, now 9-12 months old, are at or approaching adult size at this point. Conceivable that it could be a younger, late season pup from last May I suppose.

Maybe it sounds melancholy because it's lonely.
posted by SquidLips at 5:41 PM on March 1, 2016

Sounds like an owl to me, maybe a Barred Owl? I'll see if I can find an example to link to when I get to my computer. I'm on my phone now.
posted by BoscosMom at 5:46 PM on March 1, 2016

I think it's too high-pitched and not enough "who cooks for yooooo" to be a Barred (playing the links on that page is making my cat pat the back of my laptop). I think I vote some kind of canine-type mammal.
posted by rtha at 7:03 PM on March 1, 2016

We frequently hear coyotes making similar sounds here in Connecticut, so my money is also on coyote. I'm not aware of any owl species whose call sounds like that.
posted by Johnny Assay at 4:44 AM on March 2, 2016

Sounds like coyote to me. Compare the first vocalization on this recording--yours is pitched a bit lower and no barking, but otherwise extremely similar.
posted by drlith at 6:52 AM on March 2, 2016

Sounds like a coyote to me too.
posted by purple_bird at 8:42 AM on March 2, 2016

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