* * * * * * *

"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Audio ID Needed

An animal's call, ringing out through the night, woke me twice last night.  But, here's the weird thing:  in my nearly 40 years of living in northern Minnesota, I've never heard it before!  

It was fairly close, perhaps at the bottom of the valley that drops away at the southwest side of the house.  It wasn't urgent, it wasn't plaintive.  It was almost a "checking in" kind of call as though s/he was saying, "Hey, just checkin' in.  I'm in the Swamp River valley if anyone needs me."  Even the dogs seemed to know that it wasn't a distress or anger-based call:  Tucker barked one of the times, but Maisy couldn't be bothered at all.

Anyway, I've been on the MN DNR's website this morning, listening to audio recordings of different animals and their sounds.  When I first heard it, the deep baritone of the call made me envision a bear calling . . . but that was in the murkiness of my REM sleep . . . and I realized that bears don't MAKE calls like that (the DNR site search confirmed that).  Then, I thought that it was like the lowing of a cow.  So . . . a moose?  No, the online search seemed to eliminate that option as well.

That leaves me back at a wolf, I guess.  Except the identifying feature that immediately led me AWAY from wolves as a possibility was the complete lack of rise & fall in the call.  There wasn't the stereotypical "ahh-woooooooooooo-ooooo".  Like I said, it was just a long "lowing".  I *thought* I heard a very faint answering call wayyyyy off, but that could have been an echo, too, I suppose.  So, anyway, I ask this of all of you, but primarily my knows-the-woods-like-the-back-of-her-hand friends (FoxyLady?):  what do you think it was?

A coincidental aside:  my back was killin' me so much that I had to get in to my massage therapist / dear friend on Sunday night.  She regularly hears wolves at her place which is about 6 1/2 miles away as the crow flies and almost directly south of Swamp River Ridge.  She was telling me, that night, about a HUGE wolf that had been behind the house one of the previous nights.  "Did you SEE it?!" I asked.  No . . . she had only *heard* it, but figured, by the deep bass of its voice, that it MUST have been huge!  I'll have to ask her if it was the typical "ah-oooooh" of a wolf or more like what I heard!  I found online that "the average wolf territory is about 10 square miles x the number of the pack members", so it's easily conceivable that what she heard and what I heard were the same wolf.

In addition, yet another friend who frequents the river with her family, said that, just a month or two ago, they found the tracks near the bottom of my driveway of what must have been a HUGE running wolf.  The distance from the front paw tracks to the back paw tracks was SO huge that she couldn't span the distance if she stretched her legs as far as they would go (and she's probably 5'8" or so).  Wow!  I'll have to keep my eyes peeled.  Have I told you lately . . . how glad I am to live here?

Update, July 21st:  I e-mailed this post to my massage therapist friend, and she replied with, "Yep, that's my wolf alright!  Hadn't heard him before nor have I since . . . ."   Cool!

P.S.  For those of you who are 'Twilight' groupies . . . oooooh, maybe it's Jacob?  And, if it's Jacob, Edward must be around here *somewhere*, right?  ;) 


  1. I suppose it probably is a wolf, but ... from the description you gave I was thinking about Elk. Are there Elk in your area? I love the MN DNR site - very informative, even for a Californian like me. :>) I think it has ice-out conditions for the lakes in Spring too. (Did I happen to mention I previously lived in MN?)

  2. Very cool! How do the dogs react when they hear wolves normally? As far as Conny's comment, I know there are/were elk in northwestern MN at one point they were making a small comeback, not sure about the arrowhead region though. I hope you get a glimpse of something so we can find out! Keep your eyes peeled coming into the drive late at night!

  3. How awesome!! I e-mailed my son who is naturalist educator in Maine. Perhaps he'll have an idea. We heard wolves when we were in northern Michigan, but it was the sound you would expect to hear-more of a howling. The closest thing we have here in lower Michigan is coyotes, which we hear a lot on summer nights out behind the barn. Keep us posted on the mystery as you figure it out. Hope the back is better!

  4. Hey Chicken Mama-

    We've heard wolves that make just one long, low "siren" sound quite a few times, so it might have been!
    I WOULD NOT think of it in terms of Twilight! That would freak me to no end, and I might have insomnia for a VERY long time. So, I choose wolf!! ;)

  5. That weren't no wolf! That was me, giving birth!!!!

  6. With what little you said, I am also inclined to say wolf as all wolf calls are not the same in pitch or volume. It isn't always just the mournful howl. There are some very darned big wolves around you know....paws as large as my hand. If they are far away, the dogs aren't likely to get excited about it. Foxy Lady :)

  7. Maybe it was big foot... :D

  8. Maybe it was Big Foot! :D


If you are familiar with me and where I live, please respect my right to retain some anonymity by not referring to me by anything other than Chicken Mama nor mentioning city/town/villages by place names. Thanks!