It was several years after moving here before I figured out the sound. It didn't happen often. At first, I was sure that our old rough cat, Jack, was out skinning a rabbit. In the middle of the night, I would go out in my nightgown intent on saving whatever he was killing. I could never find him. Later, I mistakenly thought perhaps it was a small screech owl. Finally, I came to know that the awful sound was a fox, likely the mating call of a vixen. It is an eerie sound.
I'm not afraid of the foxes. More than one season, we've had them make their den back by the creek. They are very territorial and bold. Sometimes, I came across one in our front yard staring at the front porch and all off our cats cornered there. I believe they finally left because Daisy killed a kit.
I'm even a bit cavalier about coyotes because I've only ever seen one on our property in the twenty-two years here. It was a loner, likely sick, chased off by the miniature horses and then, by me, as it headed to the hen house. But, I hear them at night, high pitched, at a safe distance. Two nights ago on the way to the barn, it was very dark. I heard them closer than ever I have. I have to admit it was a little hair raising and I might have picked up my step a bit.
Most of the time here, I would walk anywhere in the dark without fear. I enjoyed the stars and the quiet. Even in my imagined safety, however, there were things out there. Had I been raised in the woods, likely I would have known these sounds. I had to figure them out. I could tell the new owners, but perhaps, I'll leave the joy of discovery to them.