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COUNTY: Butte County
LOCATION DETAILS: Go to the Feather Falls trailhead. There's a small 6 spot campground there. We were in the 3rd or 4th spot, the only one with wood stairs leading down to it.
NEAREST TOWN: Oroville
NEAREST ROAD: don't remember the highway 99 is close but there is another one.
OBSERVED: I was camping with 4 friends at Feather Falls campground several miles outside of Oroville. We were the only ones camping there. We stayed up late talking and what not and had gone to sleep about 1:00 AM. Some time later, it was still dark out, I heard what sounded like a tree branch being wacked against the trunk of a tree, it had specific patterns and rhythms...but the interval of time between "episodes" was random...I heard similar noises from another spot in the area. I would estimate that these noises were about 300-400 yards away, maybe more. My friends who heard it, who don't believe in anything they don't see, said it was a woodpecker. I've heard a lot of woodpeckers, but never at that time of night, or with the irregularity of the sounds. I didn't hear any vocalizations at all.
ALSO NOTICED: none
OTHER WITNESSES: 4 friends with me who wouldn't say it was anything other than a woodpecker.
OTHER STORIES: none
TIME AND CONDITIONS: after 2AM, it was clear, and chilly.
ENVIRONMENT: Forest, big pines, a creek, one bathroom structure near by, fairly high elevation.
Follow-up investigation report:
I talked with the witness by phone. The following details can be added to the report:
--No other campers were in the campground. No other cars were in the parking lot.
--Witness and friends stayed only one night there.
--The "banging" appeared to come from two separate locations, one to the right and one to the left. The banging from the two locations never occurred at the same time (no overlapping). It appeared that when the right (or left side) would bang out a pattern, the opposite site would repeat it back immediately following.
--Although it was difficult to determine, the object being banged against the tree trunk sounded like a large branch, not a small stick.
--The "banging" pattern was not consistent with the rapid sound of a woodpecker. The pauses between each bang appeared to be caused by the need to pull back an arm for the next blow.