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Night Demons!

Old 04-23-22, 05:05 PM
  #1  
Thulsadoom
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Night Demons!

I got back today from an overnight-er camping trip. I rode about 60 miles to a lake, did a little trout fishing, camped out overnight and rode back today.

Last night I had at least 4 or 5 demonic little Barred Owls in the trees above my tent. Now normally I love the night call of an owl and it generally sends me to sleep. But last night it was just a cacophony. There was no sleeping for at least 2 to three hours while they called each other and talked about...whatever owls talk about. Made for a tired ride home today.

I've come to believe that I irritate nocturnal creatures and they need to let me know. If it isn't foxes screaming or coyotes howling or deer snort-wheezing it's some manner of bird calling and it's usually right outside my tent. I heard those owls coming last night. They started off in the distance and kept coming closer until they were right over my tent and then they parked there and had a tailgate party.

Ear plugs only work to a small degree.

Anyone else have this problem? Do I need an exorcism? Is there an app I can download to repel these demons?
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Old 04-23-22, 05:18 PM
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I unwittingly thought it was a good idea to feed Steller Jays peanuts in the shell at my campsite in the Eastern Sierra. Before I knew it, the word got around the Steller community and I had about a dozen Jays surrounding me squawking like i was their mom during feeding time. Hitchcock would have given me a thumbs up.
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Old 04-23-22, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
Barred Owls
love their call. "who cooks for you". but then I've never been in that situation
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Old 04-23-22, 05:59 PM
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Steller jays are like that. When we were camping at Colonial Creek on the North Cascades Highway one attacked a bag of cereal our leader had strapped on top of his trailer bag. He had tossed the box, so the bag was easy pickings.

I love hearing owls. Heard several during my four day trip last weekend, but they can be annoying. Last September there was one in a treehouse right above my tent for maybe 20 minutes.
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Old 04-23-22, 06:27 PM
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You must not snore very much, I have no trouble at all sleeping in the wilderness.

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Old 04-23-22, 06:41 PM
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#1 You have my sympathy. We have a single barn owl that occasionally sits on the peak of our roof (right over our bed) and hoots out his favorite tunes.
#2 The first night on tour is the hardest to get a good sleep. I bet you could sleep though the owl concert on the second night of the tour.
#3 Just remember... You are in their house.
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Old 04-23-22, 06:51 PM
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Mmmm, sounds like a 8 or 10 pack of Owl nuggets
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Old 04-23-22, 10:16 PM
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I just turn on the AC to drown out the noises.
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Old 04-24-22, 05:06 AM
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We have a nesting pair of barred owls about 30' from our house. It is amazing the amount of noise they can make. It sounds like way more than just the two of them. We get a kick out of the "monkey" noises they make. We also love watching them raise their young.

I can sleep through just about anything in camp. Train or truck traffic, critter noise, whatever. The one thing most likely to bother my sleep is people talking at a level that I can almost or just barely tell what they are saying.

Here is a sample (not mine) of a pair of barred owls sounding off.
We have that racket directly over our house quite often and actually enjoy it despite it being quite loud. If I am awake to hear it I find it comforting now that I am used to it.

I do remember it waking me once years ago on a canoe trip. The owls were right over our camp. I don't recall it costing me all that much sleep though. I woke, wondered at their beauty and went back to sleep listening despite the fact that the volume practically shook the tent. I am lucky enough to be able to do that.
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Old 04-24-22, 05:10 AM
  #10  
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During my first time biking in France, a friendly family in Bretagne invited me in for supper and to then to sleep overnight in their small camp trailer right beside a good sized pond.
Lovely experience with the family but the umpteen hundreds of love crazed frogs in said pond were so loud, I too was pretty darn bagged the next day from the disrupted night.

I'm always amazed by how loud these little guys are.

an honorable mention must go out to the ubiquitous flapping tent door or fly during a gusty night--we've all been there, haven't we? When it's someone else's tent it's trickier, but even when it's our own tent on a hot night when you don't batten down the fly all the way to get better air flow, the flapping wakes you up, you don't want to wake up fully and get up, wind dies down, oh it will be fine now.....repeat....repeat... Until finally you say #!??!#*! and get up and properly fix it.

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Old 04-24-22, 05:48 AM
  #11  
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Speaking of night demons ... I caught this bear with night vision goggles peering into my tent at 2 AM!



Just kidding! Photo taken by my neighbor's trail cam.
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Old 04-24-22, 06:17 AM
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The first time I rode the GAP I was sitting at my picnic table at Husky Haven. Heard an owl even though there was still a good amount of light left. He was moving around among the trees. About five minutes later it pounced down on a chipmunk that was scurrying around a tree stump. Poor chipmunk let out a few squeaks then fell silent as the owl flew off.
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Old 04-24-22, 06:42 AM
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First time I heard barred owls was on my AT hike in 2008. They sounded to my Western ears like coyotes mating up in the trees. Later that same trip I had a whippoorwill go off outside my tent early one morning. I'm not sure which was worse.
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Old 04-24-22, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
First time I heard barred owls was on my AT hike in 2008. They sounded to my Western ears like coyotes mating up in the trees. Later that same trip I had a whippoorwill go off outside my tent early one morning. I'm not sure which was worse.
For me the worst is coyotes nearby yipping when my dog is in the tent. She doesn't allow me a moments peace in that situation. She doesn't tour with me though.
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Old 04-24-22, 09:59 AM
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BobG's trail cam photo reminded me how noisy the campsite was in Grand Canyon, Indian Gardens site on a backpacking trip. (No bikes allowed there.) The deer were frequently there, including in the middle of the night.

Photo at early morning, not night. My travel partner is sitting at a picnic table under a shelter roof at our site.

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Old 04-24-22, 01:41 PM
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We had a similar situation occur last year when my wife and I were bike touring down along the Mississippi River. We camped out one night and my wife who normally loves night sounds like that was kept awake all night by those darn owls. It had been such a long ride that day that I slept right through it, though believe me when I say I also was affected, just not until the next day. If you're married you'll understand this.
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Old 04-24-22, 05:11 PM
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Should I cue my train at Rockwood video.
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Old 04-24-22, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Should I cue my train at Rockwood video.
Sure.

I do not have anything from Rockwood, only have the train going past the park across the road from the YMCA in Cumberland. And that is a still, not a video. The train is behind the trees on the far right.

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Old 04-24-22, 07:28 PM
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I heard an owl tonight but don't think it's a barred owl
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Old 04-24-22, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Sure.

I do not have anything from Rockwood, only have the train going past the park across the road from the YMCA in Cumberland. And that is a still, not a video. The train is behind the trees on the far right.

Wait for it, and turn up the volume to get the full effect. It was the same day I saw the owl kill the chipmunk, as recounted above.

It was the Capitol Limited heading west from DC. Later that night CSX was switching cars at Rockwood Junction. Lots of banging around.


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Old 04-25-22, 05:16 AM
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I am one of the lucky ones who can sleep peacefully in places like Rockwood, under hooting owls, with semi trucks pulling in and out of spaces 10' away, or in a boiled/chiller room. I hear the noises, but it doesn't bother me. I wake up rested in the morning.
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Old 04-25-22, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Wait for it, and turn up the volume to get the full effect. It was the same day I saw the owl kill the chipmunk, as recounted above.

It was the Capitol Limited heading west from DC. Later that night CSX was switching cars at Rockwood Junction. Lots of banging around.
...
I can see where that would be rather inconvenient when you are trying to get to sleep. It does remind me of trying to sleep on some of the longer Amtrak trips I have taken.

I grew up about a third of a mile from some train tracks, but they did not use their horn that often, they only had two cross roads near by, so you only heard the horn twice. The trains that are 1.6 miles away from my condo use their horns day and night, but at that distance I only notice them in nice weather when I have the windows open at night.

I can see why nobody uses that as a ringtone on their smart phone.
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Old 04-25-22, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I can see where that would be rather inconvenient when you are trying to get to sleep. It does remind me of trying to sleep on some of the longer Amtrak trips I have taken.

I grew up about a third of a mile from some train tracks, but they did not use their horn that often, they only had two cross roads near by, so you only heard the horn twice. The trains that are 1.6 miles away from my condo use their horns day and night, but at that distance I only notice them in nice weather when I have the windows open at night.

I can see why nobody uses that as a ringtone on their smart phone.
At the risk of putting you to sleep...The difference today is that when and how horns must be sounded at public crossings is a matter of exclusive federal jurisdiction. That was necessitated primarily by local governmental bodies passing ordinances prohibiting the sounding of horns. Local ordinances were causing a lot of confusion. For example, a train would pass through one township with no ban, enter another township with a ban and then reenter the township without a ban, all in a matter of minutes. The same problem has been the basis for state wide laws regarding cell phone use while driving that preempt/invalidate local ordinances.

So today, horns must be sounded at all public crossings unless what is called a "quiet zone" has been established. You don't see a lot of them because they are usually expensive to establish. The applicable federal regs require the municipality wanting a QZ to commission a traffic study. Based on that study, various types of crossing upgrades are usually required, including flashing lights and gates, or upgrading of existing ones, along with medians and other facilities designed to deter motorists from driving around activated crossing protection. You also need an electronic system that alerts an approaching train crew if the automated warning devices are malfunctioning. If they are, the horn must be sounded. All of that, along with future maintenance, is on the municipality's dime. I worked on agreements for QZs in two tony areas on northern New Jersey. The municipalities had to cough up hundreds of thousands of dollars for the crossing upgrades and maintenance alone. (Railroad communications and signal work is very expensive and can rarely (if ever) be contracted out.) And that was more than a decade ago.

Anyone who has toured and stayed at Whitefish Lake State Park in Montana relatively recently has seen a QZ at the crossing of the road that leads to the park entrance. Whitefish has become far more tony than it was when I first rode through in 1999, and there is some relatively new residential construction near that crossing. Not surprised the town wanted a QZ and could afford to establish one.
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Old 04-25-22, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
At the risk of putting you to sleep......
I started to doze off, ... ... but then a train came by with the horn. <Joking, could not pass up the opportunity.>
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Old 04-27-22, 04:41 PM
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Just a note about barn owls--they don't hoot. Instead, they have a truly demonic two second screech that they seem to enjoy releasing just as they fly over your head.

Around here, the hooters are great horned owls mates that are calling back & forth to one another.
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