Yes, that’s really how lynxes sound when they fight
This story was originally published in May 2019.
Daniel Wadley has hunted and fished in the woods of Maine almost since he learned how to walk, but he was still amazed by what he saw Friday night.
The 31-year-old, a Belgrade resident, was driving on Route 6 in Sandwich Academy Grant Township, between Jackman and Rockwood, to scout fishing spots over the weekend, when he came across “these two things in the road,” he said.
“I didn’t know what they were. Then I said, ‘Wait a minute. I think those are lynxes.’ I slammed on the brakes and stopped,” Wadlig said. “I thought they would see me and run away. But they stayed where they were.”
The two Canadian lynxes were in a standoff on the side of the road. They were so engrossed in their dispute that they remained as Wadley first saw them, almost shouting at each other, long enough for him to capture six photos and nearly a minute of video with his cellphone camera.
While Wadleigh was filming the video, the two separated for a bit and then sat down, but continued making noise until Wadleigh started his Dodge Ram pickup truck.
“It was an amazing show,” Wadlig said.
“I’ve seen bobcats here and there. I’ve seen one or two bobcats running through the woods, but I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
What Wadley saw was fairly common in that area of Somerset County, said Kendall Martin, a regional biologist with the Sydney-based Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Classified as federally threatened and a species of special concern statewide, the Canada lynx is a forest-dwelling cat found in northern latitudes where deep snow and spruce/fir forests are common. They are most often found in the spruce and fir flats of Aroostook and Piscataquis counties, and northern Penobscot, Somerset, Franklin and Oxford counties, where snow depths are often the highest in the state, according to a web page dedicated to them on maine.gov.
Martin, who reviewed the video on Wadlig’s cellphone when the latter came into his office Tuesday, said the two lynxes were likely engaging in the territoriality for which lynxes are known. Such behavior is common at this time of year, when the lynx begins raising its young.
“It could have just been general territoriality or an assertion of dominance by two males or one female,” Martin said. “Without a lot of context, it’s hard to see, but it’s very normal for a lynx to be very vocal without a lot of aggressive displays.”
“They’re not quite as friendly as humans passing by on the street,” he said. They might say: Hey, I’m in the area now. “
Wadleigh loves seeing wild cats.
“It’s pure amazement for me that I was able to get this video and be in the right place at the right time, all while being in one of my favorite places,” he said. “I mean, can it get any cooler than that?”