There were lots of new sounds to process when we moved out here from the Big City. Squawks and trills from the trees. ("What bird is making that noise?" "A squirrel." "That's not a bird." "Clever of you to notice.") Strange rustlings from the weeds, and when the weeds are eleven feet tall and growing right up against the house, this can cause some concern. Squeaking tree branches. Frogs that said things distinctly different than "ribbit." The roar of the river just behind us, reaching record-setting flood levels just as we moved in.
And then one night, we were startled to hear the monkeys. "Startled" may be an understatement. Books were flung...eyes widened. Someone may have said "Aaauuuggghhh! What is THAT?!?"
It was an amazing cacaphony of shrieking hooting barking coming from several directions at once, and the sources were very close.
I hoped the doors were locked.
I hoped monkeys didn't eat schnauzers.
I hoped there weren't any bananas in the living room.
As I was trying to decide between calling 911 or Animal Control, the pandemonium suddenly stopped. Someone must have called an emergency monkey meeting at a distant location.
We eventually were able to identify the culprit, and as it turned out, the monkeys were not what they seemed. They were actually Barred Owls (Strix varia), beautiful brown-streaked birds with round faces and ominous eyes. How a noise like that could come from an animal without opposable thumbs, I'll never know.