I had an unnerving experience in the wee hours of this morning.

It started last night with a reel I saw on Instagram warning hikers that if they hear a sound like birds chirping, it could be mountain lion chatter. Then, I fell asleep (smart, I know).

I'm a morning show host. I wake up at O-dark-thirty, and this morning when I let my dog out, I heard an unusual sound.

My first thought was "Banshee!"


But my fear of the night subsided and I became only slightly more rational. I wondered, remembering the video from the previous night, is that sound a mountain lion?


The intermittent chirping was high-pitched and a bit garbled like it was coming from an animal pretending to be a bird that wasn't doing a good job of it.


I carried on with my day only to find myself continuing to wonder, what was that sound? Down the rabbit hole I went.

I found examples online of how a mountain lion can sound like a bird, but someone suggested it might also be a deer, leaving me with an animal-sound-triangle. Listen below to how similar these animals can sound to one another.

The Mountain Lion That Sounds Like a Bird

It's uncanny, right? Imagine being in the woods and not seeing the mountain lion. I could understand someone thinking this sound was coming from a bird.

The Bird That Sounds Like Mountain Lion

The bird in this video chirps faster than the mountain lion in the video above, but the pitch is similar.

The Deer That Sounds Like a Mountain Lion and a Bird

Listen to the sounds coming from the fawn in the first 10 seconds of this video.

The pitch and speed sound similar to both a mountain lion AND a bird?!

So, I'm no closer to figuring out what I heard this morning, but I was today years old when I learned that these three animals can sound the same.

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Here's a sample of some of the exotic animals that the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks consider "noncontrolled species" meaning they aren't prohibited unless it falls under Montana or Federal law. For more information about these species and other "exotic noncontrolled species" refer to the guidance from Montana Fish Wildlife, and Parks.

Gallery Credit: Ashley

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Gallery Credit: Michael Foth