Help ID from distinctive bird sound

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

I am spending the summer in Washington state. I am familiar with the birds at home (Texas) and can identify most by sound alone, but up here is a different thing. I have bald eagles roosting in the back garden, which is pretty amazing. There are lots of ravens too. Early every morning and late in the evening, I'm hearing a bird that I can't visually locate and I can't identify by sound. The first time I heard it, I didn't think it was a bird, but am now positive it is. The bird sounds like two angry cats in a bag, fighting. I'm serious, this is very much what it sounds like. Does anyone know of a bird that makes this type of noise. It's driving me nuts trying to find it and identify it.

Thanks for any help.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Maybe you can find out something here:

It's: Seattle Audubon's Guide to the Birds of Washington State

Good luck! (And let us know if you find out what it is, please!)

Oh... you can find out what the "normal" birds are in that state, then you can go to and type in the name of the bird - I'm pretty sure that all of the birds will have the sound(s) each type of bird makes. Will be time-consuming, though.

This message was edited Aug 17, 2012 5:36 PM

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

I'm still unsure what it is. I emailed the local Audobon group and asked, but got no response. I do think it's some type of night bird. I listened to some birds calls online. Someone suggested it might be a barn owl. I don't think it is. I've listened to everything I can find online, but nothing sounds right. I'll keep looking and trying to visually locate it. I'm running outside immediately next time I hear it, even if I'm in my jammies!

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Take a tape recorder with you when you do, and get some recordings of it!


Webster, NY

In searching for info about a bird sound I found this forum. While sitting around a fire tonight, my husband and I also heard what sounded like 2 cats having a horrible fight. We thought the cats were moving closer to us-when we realized the sound was coming from overhead. It was dark so we weren't able to see the bird itself. Other web links have shown others experiencing this bird sound in Washington state; I experienced the sound in western NY-along Lake Ontario. It was a bird sound I've never heard before-and it certainly has my curiosity piqued.

Webster, NY

In listening to birds sounds at I found 2 birds that have similar sounds. One is the Barn Owl and the other is the Ivory Gull. But based on info regarding Ivory Gulls-they are rarely found south of the Maritime Provinces. So-if someone gets a chance to listen to the 2 bird I mentioned-let me know what you think.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

I'm still working on this, but still stumped. I've contacted the Washington Ornithological Society to see if they can possibly provide an answer. I'm in Texas for the winter, but will be back in Washington in May and will resume the search. This really has my curiosity piqued!

Willis, TX(Zone 8b)

A tape recorder, as Resin suggested, would be an excellent idea. I ran across a sound I couldn't identify a couple of days ago and I just used the Voice Memo recorder on my iPhone. It was very faint when I played it back on the iPhone, but I could hear it just fine on my computer and a friend identified it as a Northern Cardinal. I have heard jillions of Cardinals and this one's "voice" sounded like a Cardinal, but the song wasn't one I had heard before.

A recording will allow the birders to pin it down for you very quickly and just for ID purposes, you don't need any fancy equipment.

I will stay tuned. Let us know if you figure it out. Cool thread.


Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

I never heard back from the Washington Ornithological Society or the Audobon Society. I'm headed back next week and will keep you posted. I've got a recorder ready!

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

I am in Washington state again, and have another clue. Every time I hear this bird, I hear the eagles too. I'm wondering if it's another call from an eagle. I'm familiar with both the piercing scree and the laughing sound of the eagles. I'm going to try to record it and will post it.

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

Another possibility:
The sound of two cats fighting could be the sound of two cats fighting ... As recorded and played back by mocking bird or other mimic.
We used to have a catbird aroud that did rusty hinges and kittens - and it sounded exactly like it.
I ran into another catbird that just ran a bunch of bird calls together, starting with a meadowlark and running through several others including something that just squawked.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

I'm sure it's not a mockingbird. I haven't seen any of them in the area, but have lots of them at home in Texas. I used to have one that every evening would perch on top of the chimney and go through a full repertoire of car alarm sounds. Loved it! I haven't given up, but am in Texas this summer. I'll update this if I ever figure out what it is. There are a lot of owls in the area, so that's a possibility, but don't know of any that sound like this.

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