Camera Shutter?

My grandson is two and half years old. And as such, like most toddlers, is challenged when it comes to language skills. He has pet names for people and things. He differentiates between two sets of grandparents by the names of our dogs. Hence my name is “Papa Belle”, and his other grandfather is “Papa Tess”. His great-grandfather does not have a dog but he does have chickens. Therefore his name is “Papa click click”, my grandson imitating the sound the chickens make.

Onomatopoeia is a word that imitates a sound. Such common words in English are “meow” or “roar”.  This usage is common through many different cultures, although the word they use will not be the same as ours.

In March and April of this year (2012) I left a long-term continuously running recorder out in the woods at a witnesses property in Edgar County, Illinois near the Illinois-Indiana border. The recorder was positioned 12 feet off the ground in an open-platform tree blind.  The witnesses farm is in a remote area, there are scattered farms but very few people.  The witness had removed all gamecams from his property six months earlier.

A typical deer tree stand somewhat similar to the one in Edgar County, Illinois

On the 2nd of April, 2012, I recorded the most unusual sound. Immediately upon hearing it I thought “camera shutter”.  Others will think something else. I spoke with the witness, who was adamant that no strangers ever trespass and cut through his woods or pastures.  And once again he maintained that there were no gamecams on his property.

The sound was close, at least within 10 feet from the recorder.

I can not tell you what made that sound, but I am left with this thought –

Was this one of the “locals” passing close by the tree stand? Did they use an onomatopoeiac word to describe what they mistook for a gamecam, my recorder sitting in the tree stand.”   Was the “clicking and motor sound” heard on the sound clip their vocal term for a gamecam?

Click here to listen to this sound clip:  Tree Stand Sound


And here is a sound clip of an older 35 mm film  camera : 35 mm Camera Shutter


16 Responses to “Camera Shutter?”

  1. Dwight says:

    Im not shure about the clicking sound but the squeaking sound could be branches rubbing togeather in the wind. I have heard sounds like that plenty of times on windy days when out in the woods.

  2. G. de La Hoya says:

    I agree. If a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears or sees it does not mean that Bigfoot did it.

  3. Steve says:

    Interesting sound, Maybe a bird?

  4. Dave says:

    Sounds like somebody opening a squeaky door to me. I'm guessing there's no door on the tree stand. The squeaking does sound like branches rubbing together…is there more of that on the recording?

  5. stancourtney says:

    Dave, Never in the six weeks of continuous recording did I hear any branches rubbing together.

  6. Duke says:

    Unusual sound, Stan. Thanks for posting.

  7. Matt E says:

    Any known species of birds in the region that imitate sounds? My first thought was bird. I have heard stories of bigfoot’s imitating sounds, are there any known primates that do that also? Just curious to know if that’s common behavior amongst primates.

    If that was a bigfoot, do you think it was one or two making the noise? Sounding pretty complex for an ape. But then again we have no idea what they are capable of.

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. stancourtney says:

    Many birds can imitate, but usually other birds. I am not sure about proven imitation of sounds by primates.

    If you go to the bottom of my BIgfoot Sounds page you will find a list of recordings of possible sounds that are imitations.

  9. Gary says:

    Sounds too mechanical to be imitation. I'd bet someone was out on a walk or watching birds and took a picture with a SLR camera.

    Gary in Texas

  10. Marc says:

    That is very interesting. I don't think it's an SLR, past or present, because the sound isn't anywhere near matching. The closest thing it reminds me of is a toy plastic machine gun that I had when I was a kid. There was a mechanism that would create a "machine gun" sound if you kept pulling trigger repeatedly. Don't know how the mechanism worked exactly, but I always suspected that it was rotary in nature and it sounded very similar when winding down. With the squatches power of mimicry, though, who knows what is possible. The Lyrebird can create stunningly accurate imitations of mechanical sounds.

  11. stancourtney says:

    Thanks Marc,

    I don't have any knowledge about the early gamecam mechanisms. Be interesting to know what they sounded like.

  12. Trudie says:

    Stan, I'm guessing this recording did not contain the sounds of someone/something, bipedal or otherwise, walking around the tree, right? If so, that makes this mystery even more perplexing.

  13. stancourtney says:

    Trudie, I was unable to hear any sounds of walking.

  14. earl says:

    Stan, what intreged me was the background noise. It sounded like running water, not the wind. Some old pieces of farm machinery could sound like that. Hard to tell. Interesting

  15. earl says:

    Another thought, Could it be the sound of someone or something climbing into the stand, and what we are haring is the sound of the stand taking the weight. If the gamecams were removed, it could be curiosity wondering what the recorder was.

  16. stancourtney says:

    I do think the sound was within about four feet of the recorder.

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