Many of us are fairly attuned to common bird sounds heard around Maine, but birds aren’t the only creatures making noise. Insects and amphibians are a common element of the backyard soundscape in the appropriate seasons, but wild mammals are heard less frequently.
Here’s a primer on the noises made by some of Maine’s mammals so you can be prepared next time you hear something growling at you in the woods.
Let’s start easy. After domestic dogs, squirrels are probably the most commonly heard mammal in Maine. Squirrels are most often heard giving their alarm or scold call when an intruder (that’s you) is spotted. Our eastern gray squirrel gives a series of harsh, nasal barks or squeals when alarmed, sounding like: Wert! Wert! Weerrrrr!
Common in Maine’s coniferous forests, red squirrels announce their territories with a loud whirring call often mistaken for a bird. Their scold calls are a series of rapid chips, often accompanied by tail-wagging and odd dances.