The evening consists of a talk on wolves and their different methods of communication, focusing especially on their different vocalisations and the reasons for them. Following the presentation you'll head outdoors and will be able to put theory into practice, by letting out a howl and seeing what the wolves do in response!
Ask anyone how wolves communicate and the howl will most probably be the first answer you get, even though they communicate in a range of methods through sound, smell and body language. Wolf sounds range from the spine-tingling howl that calls the pack together and plays a huge role in socialisation and bonding, to the rough short bark that signifies fear and is used to warn other pack members of the threat and to scare away intruders. Other sounds include the whine, whimper, yelp, growl and snarl, all of which are probably heard more often than the howl, and yet it's the howl that defines the wolf and fascinates us.
So why do wolves howl?
Wolves range over vast areas in search of food and are often separated from one another. Of all their calls, howling works best over long distance. Its low pitch and long duration are well suited for transmission in forest and across tundra, the unique features of each individual's howl allow wolves to recognise each other and make contact. Howling to a wolf is what the telephone is to us. Howling has its costs as well as benefits, however; howl too close to a rival pack and there may be trouble. Consequently, wolves are generally careful about where, when and to whom they howl.
Why not come along to a Howl Night and see if the wolves howl back to you? Please note there is no wolf contact or walk at this event.
An MP3 recording of an interview from BBC Radio Oxford with more information about howl nights and the Trust can be downloaded here.