It's a kind of metallic meow. It falls somewhere between the creak of unoiled playground equipment and a cat. It goes "KreeeeOW!" then stops. A few minutes later, there will come another "KreeeOW!" noise. It happens maybe two or three times a day, but it is not as common as the constant yammer of the other birds.
The nagging bit is that it's familiar. I'm almost sure it's a sound I've heard in movies and TV shows, generally when they pan across a swamp or a lake or something, a haunting, somewhat sinister noise, a "You're in the wilderness now, boy!" noise, the North American equivalent of the laughing kookaburra, meant to denote a certain space. But it's appearing in the middle of a suburb, in a chunk of wooded space less than a hunded yards from a road in any direction.
And yet, despite this nagging familiarity, I have no idea what it is.
It is not a loon. I realize they play loon noises on a lot of lake scenes, but I know what a loon sounds like, and believe me, if there were loons behind my house, I would be calling people. Loons make...um...I dunno how to write the loon noise. It's that kind of haunting baritone uluation. Anyway, it's not this. This is a loud, metallic "rEEeeeOW!" ish sort of noise.
Again, as with the thing that went "HnAAgh," (which turned out to be a bullfrog, which I always thought went "Riibbit") I could look this up easily on-line if I had any idea where to start. But I do not know if it is fish or fowl (okay, it's probably not a fish) or frog or bug. (I doubt it's a bug. It'd be a helluva bug.) Frog or bird seems likely, but for all I know, it's the mating call of the Carolinian Banded Sasquatch. Without some narrowing of the field, I will be lost.
Anybody got any suggestions of where to start?
Edit: I don't think it's a mimic...I mean, I'm sure it'd be mimickable, but they'd need a helluva range. This goes from quite high to very deep, and while I've heard mockingbirds mimic a number of things, they'd need to plug into an amplifier to pull this off. (I can't rule it out, of course.) Definitely not a blue jay or a grackle--they make squeaky rusty noises, but this is a prolonged, booming metallic scrape. The closest calls so far have been the red-tailed hawk (too thin, not deep enough) and the peacock (awfully similiar, but over a broader range, and longer.) If you crossed the two, it'd be pretty close, but I doubt interspecies luv has gone that far...
Hmmmm. Maybe it's a weird peacock. In the suburbs. Who only calls once or twice a day...