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Creatures Of The Night

April 19, 2016
by Anesa McGregor , Emmetsburg News

I just finished a stay at our family farm. I felt like I had forgotten the sights and sounds of the country. Although the wind blew most days, the evenings were peaceful and quiet, slightly on the cool side for the time of year, yet it didn't seem to bother the creatures of the night.

One of the first things I noticed was that I could hear trucks driving on the highway which was two miles away and the train crossing Highway 18 was heard when it blew its horn, which is four miles away. This really has nothing to do with the creatures of the night, but it gives one a sense of how still the night air can be in the country.

One of the first animals that can be heard as the sun is setting is the crow of the male ring-necked pheasant. This crowing can be heard up to a mile away; however, when living across from a state preserve, pheasants are in your backyard.

As the sun was sets farther down, the male black crickets begin chirping, which seems to set a background sound for the rest of the night. No one likes those crickets in the house but if you really stop and listen, their song is a soothing melody for the soul.

Although you don't hear them and sometimes see them at the last minute, whitetail deer are grazing and wandering across the countryside looking for that perfect place to sleep.

As dusk turns to dark, the real creatures of the night come out for their nightly adventures. It is possible to hear the squeaking of bats as they begin their foraging for insects such as the pesky mosquito and other flying insects that are annoying.

Beware if you hear the screeching of a great horned owl. While these birds are not that big they are very territorial. At one time there was a family of them living in the hedge and if you got to close, they would swoop down to let you know you are invading their space. It was kind of fun to watch and wait for them to dive bomb you so you had to duck or get hit in the head.

After complete darkness fell, the bullfrogs would begin their croaking and along with the crickets it seemed to be a soothing melody of its own.

Finally, the coyote came out. They are thick around the farm and are not afraid of humans or light, although they will run away when necessary. Coyote mainly eat small mammals such as rabbit and mice, given the opportunity; they will attack dogs, cats and other farm animals. Coyote like to call out the family dog with their barking type sound. Unfortunately, once the dog is away from the protection of the house, coyote will surround them and kill them as a pack. The yipping howl of the coyote is a lonely, sad sound I think. I can't say that it is a pretty sound, but it is different and in some ways soothing.

Yes, the creatures of the night are all around us, even in the towns, but it takes time in the country to realize what a special area we live in. To stop and appreciate the creatures of the night for their benefits instead of the nuisances these creatures inflict upon our daily lives. Every creature has a purpose; it takes a memory and a moment to remember that we are not alone and that there are eyes upon us, even at night.

 
 
 

 

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