Unidentified bird(?) noise

Hi, I heard this yesterday evening (7.20 pm) in the middle of a fairly large patch of woodland on the Isle of Wight. I can't place it at all - I'm not even sure if it's a bird or not! Does anybody have any idea what it is?

I'm talking about the whistling/wailing noise, not the chiffchaff or goldfinches, in case that's not obvious!

Weird noise.m4a

  • Could be a Barn Owl - the acoustics of the woodland giving it an eerie ethereal sound.
  • In reply to rspbailey:

    Thanks. I wouldn't be confident enough to rule it out, but I've heard a fair few barn owls, and it really didn't sound like that to me, unless there's an unusual noise they make in certain situations that I've never heard. It also wasn't the kind of place I'd normally expect to encounter a barn owl.

    The recording isn't brilliant, but I heard it quite clearly, several times. It was a lot more of a kind of wavering whinny noise than the screech barn owls tend to make, and each individual vocalisation seemed longer in duration than anything I've ever heard from an owl.
  • In reply to Tim Johnson:

    Barn Owls can make longer protracted calls depending on the individual and the situation (see here for example https://xeno-canto.org/731329 ) but have you ruled out a fox?

    They can certainly scream.
  • In reply to rspbailey:

    I've been through a lot of calls on Xeno Canto and I'm increasingly convinced it wasn't a barn owl.

    I did wonder about a fox, though it wasn't much like any fox I've ever heard. I'm wondering if there are any other mammals it could have been. I know deer can make some pretty weird noises.
  • Deer can definitely make some 'scream-like' noises as can Badgers - but I'm now thinking fox and possibly a mating pair.

    If you can get another recording then that'd be great.
  • In reply to rspbailey:

    Weird noise 2.m4a

    Yes I'll definitely try and get a better recording - it's really bugging me! This is another one from about five minutes after the first, but I'm not sure it's any more help - its a bit quieter/further away

  • On this thread ... community.rspb.org.uk/.../1399107 ... are some short vids of maturing fox cubs fighting & making noises similar to your recordings, maybe!


     2013 photos & vids here

    eff37 on Flickr

  • In reply to WendyBartter:

    Thanks. I am wondering if the other bird calls on the recording are confusing things a bit, or if I'm hearing it more clearly when I listen to the recording since I heard it first hand, because honestly it wasn't similar to that at all. The more I listen to fox recordings, the less I think it was a fox.

    I was a kind of high pitched, whistling/whining noise - it didn't sound like a scream. It repeated several times, and each individual vocalisation was quite long - maybe 3 or 4 seconds, with an odd kind of vibrato quality.
  • Very distinctive, Tim.

    I hear a long note, followed by a shorter note higher up the register that runs into a lower, intermediate note.

    Not a noise I've heard from a fox or owl. But that's just me.

    (Fabulous videos (link from Wendy)).

  • sounds like a fox, its freaky the first time you hear them scream like that