The evening of the 4th of May, 2009 I was accompanied by Dennis Pfohl of Colorado to my “Main Research Box” here in Central Illinois.

The conditions were almost perfect, 55 degrees, no humidity, no bugs and no breeze.  Hopefully it would be great for making audio recordings. I have adjusted all the recordings for volume and eliminated all base rumble. They have not been altered otherwise. Because of the distance from some of the sounds the resulting quality is poor.

Click here to listen to sound clip: Introduction

While at the “food drop” we heard a very distant howl off to the east.  It did not seem to be either coyote or dog.

Click here to listen to sound clip:  Howl 7

Waveform View

Spectral View

Dennis mentions an unusual smell and branches breaking, which could be many things from small forest animals to deer or raccoons or even Belle who was tagging along with us.

Click here to listen to sound clip:  Discussion about the smell and breaking branches.

This area has many Barred Owl and Whippoorwill which are always a real treat to listen to. Sorry about my breathing on the recording after hiking through the mud and wet grass.

Click here to listen to sound clip:  Barred Owl & Whippoorwill serenade

We heard and recorded a very strange hissing type of sound coming from the ridge just above our location. Difficult to describe, it’s position changed several times.

Click here to listen to sound clip:  Hissing 1

Waveform View

Spectral View

About 30 seconds later it moved further up the ridge.

This picture is from Cool Edit showing the length of time that the sound lasted, about 10 seconds which is quite a while for an animal to be exhaling.

Click here to listen to sound clip:  Hissing 2

Waveform View

Spectral View

Many coyotes decided to join in on the music making.

Click here to listen to sound clip:  Coyotes – 1st recording

Dennis did a series of woodknocks with no responses other than more branch breaking.

We walked an hour back to the Jeep. We returned along the road to this last position and did a series of three soundblasts. It was 1 1/2 hrs. between the time that we heard the 2nd Strange Sound, hiked back the mile through the woods and drove the 4 1/2 miles back to begin the soundblasting . After soundblasting we again heard and recorded this strange hissing sound. This time the sound maker had moved further south, across the road into some trees on the other side.

Click here to listen to sound clip:  Hissing 3

Waveform View

Spectral View

After the 2nd soundblast we had two different groups of coyotes decide to sing along.

Click here to listen to sound clip:  Coyote Serenade

All in all it was a good evening.  We would have liked to have been closer to the initial howls and to have known what was making the strange hissing sound but field research at  night is not easy and getting good quality recordings up close is almost impossible.

Thank you Dennis for accompanying me. After seeing three cougar several years ago in this immediate area I do not consider it safe to venture out alone at night into the deep woods of my “Main Research Box”.