Cat Calls: Recognizing Mountain Lion Vocalizations


photo by Sgarton from www.morguefile.comLast night we heard chirping. Loud chirping we’ve never heard before in all our time living in the mountains. Loud enough to hear over the TV and over the fans as they worked toward cooling down the house. My husband muted the TV and turned off the fan. Sure enough, something was chirping out there. But what?

We’ve seen and heard all manner of critters while hunting, while at home, and on hikes. Deer and elk are commonplace. Pronghorn, no big deal. Snakes, toads, newts, salamanders, skinks, marmots, picas, squirrels, rabbit, prairie dogs, owls, birds of all kind, diurnal raptors, you name it. Bobcat, black bear, coyotes, lynx, fox (both red and gray), bobcat, moose, and mountain lions. I even swear I’ve heard wolves howl. I’ve owned wolf hybrids in the past. So, we’re not exactly new at this and we’ve had some interesting interactions when it comes to critters.

Mystery Chirps

This chirping bothered me. We went down the list of possible culprits. None seemed obvious. We thought about raptors like hawks and eagles, but it was way too late and the chirps didn’t match anything either of us knew.

It was late and time for me to milk. Something in the back of my mind told me to look up mountain lion. I did a search on “mountain lion vocalizations” and found an article from the Missouri Department of Conservation. Suddenly, I had a bad feeling when it mentioned that mountain lions sound like a bird chirping.

For years I lived in the mountains and had to deal with mountain lions all the time. As a musher, I was constantly worried about my dogs because we had five mountain lions in our valley. These cats were so pressured with humans and each other that we always heard their territorial calls and their mating screams. Never chirps.

I searched again, this time for mountain lion chirps. I found a YouTube video and by golly, that’s what we heard. I told my husband I wasn’t going to milk in the dark with a cat prowling around. We’ve had encounters with them at our place before. We’ve actually been hissed at by one and even heard the territorial calls when they went to visit some of my neighbors.

8/19/2014 7:35:44 PM

In our area of Arkansas, the chipmunks will sometimes set up a very loud, almost annoying, chirping session. The sounds will carry for over a couple of hundreds of yards.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters