I was contacted by a reader in reference to a strange sound he was hearing near his house in Dennis, MA:
We live in Dennis Village area on the edge of an old bog less than 1/2 mile from the Bay. We have been hearing a strange call after sundown. It’s a shrill, somewhat high pitched ‘eeeek’. It is coming from up in the trees. It doesn’t sound like any type of owl. One night it was visible (barely) perched on the peak of our garage roof – all that I could tell was that it was a large bird. We have a rabid fox in the neighborhood and I’m wondering if it could be a rabid red tail hawk !! ?? We do have a red tail around. Can you solve this mystery ?
Dennis is an area of the Cape that I am very familiar with. After ruling out a hawk and a little back and forth emailing, he sent me a recording of the sound he was hearing:
After listening to this recording, I did a little digging around and determined that it was most likely a juvenile Great Horned Owl.
Here is the sound of a juvenile Great Horned Owl to compare to his recording: