Recently I’ve been getting a lot of emails from people who want to know how animal communication really works…
Maybe you’d like to develop a friendship with local birds and get closer to animals in the woods like deer and foxes without scaring them.
Or maybe you just want to know what nearby animals are communicating so you can be more sensitive to your impact on nature.
Over the years I’ve developed some unique perspectives on this topic from my experience as a wildlife tracker.
I’ve used bird language and other forms of animal communication to have amazing experiences with everything from backyard songbirds & squirrels to deer, bears, owls, bobcats, and even a few mountain lions!
I’ve also discovered there’s a TON of myths and misconceptions out there about how animal communication truly works.
So how does animal communication work?
Animal communication is first and foremost the ability to consciously observe, interpret and broadcast behavioral messages that normally happen subconsciously.
This includes things like body language, eye contact, emotional state, and the overall vibe being broadcast by your attitude & attentiveness.
Animals are extremely sensitive to non-verbal cues & behavior that most humans completely ignore.
There’s actually two skills required to be a well rounded animal communicator:
- First – You need to consciously observe and evaluate the messages being broadcast by a particular animal.
- Second – You need to adjust your own non-verbal communication to broadcast a feeling of safety, trust and mutual understanding.
If you can simply use both these skills together, it’s possible to build massive amounts of trust and mutual empathy with animals.
Of course, if you really want to get skilled at this, it does take a bit of practice and patience.
So let’s take a closer look at some essential tips, mindsets & examples to help you get started on the journey.
Common Examples Of Animal Communication
Have you ever met someone who seemed to be like a magnet for animals?
Whenever they come back from the woods they have some crazy story about stumbling across an owl or fox or bobcat…
Then you might go into that exact same forest hoping to see some cool wildlife, but find absolutely nothing.
So what’s going on here?
Why do some people seem so naturally gifted at connecting with animals? While others are almost like wildlife repellant!
This is one of the core questions you need to ask yourself if you want to get really good at being an animal communicator.
If you’ve never met anyone with a natural gift for touching wildness, it might seem a bit crazy to realize there are people for whom close connections with animals are actually commonplace.
Animals just seem to be drawn to them, and often these people not even aware that it’s unusual to be so close to wild animals.
A Historic Animal Communicator: Saint Francis of Assisi
One of the most famous animal communicators from history was St Francis of Assisi.
St Francis was known to have a very unusual and respectful relationship with animals and nature.
It’s reported that even dangerous predators like wolves would experience comfort with him because he had such a peaceful vibe.
Of course this is an extreme example from long ago, but there are similar examples in all cultures throughout history and even today with all different types of animals.
This attractive quality with animals tends to emerge in people who spend significant amounts of time surrounding themselves with nature.
In many cases it’s not something they intentionally tried to develop, but for the average person, this is actually something you can practice and learn!
This is an ability that develops with a lot of trackers & naturalists who cultivate a sensitive and peaceful attitude towards nature.
They tend to become significantly more successful at getting close to animals and eventually have repeated encounters.
Becoming Attractive To Animals
When I first learned about the idea of animal communication, I was not naturally gifted at getting close to wildlife.
One of my mentors mentioned that a common side effect of studying nature awareness skills like wildlife tracking & bird language is that you develop synchronicity with certain animals.
Animal synchronicity is this mysterious thing where you unintentionally begin to have repeat encounters with the same animals over and over again.
After awhile it starts to feel like you’re magnetized or “on the same wavelength” with certain animals.
I know this might sound a bit weird or aerie faerie, but most people have already experienced something like this before without even realizing it.
Have you ever been in a situation where you see somebody out on the town, and then you bump into them again a little bit later?
At first you think it’s just a coincidence, but then it happens again and again until it seems like everywhere you go you bump into them!
Well this is basically what starts to happen with animals.
As you develop into a more sensitive and perceptive person, it leads to certain changes in your body language & overall energy level that causes animals to treat you differently.
With practice adjusting the overall vibe you put off, animals will gradually become less and less likely to tuck tail and run whenever you enter the forest.
This is exactly what happened for me when I began using a sit spot and practicing daily awareness exercises like the ones shared in my other articles & videos.
During those first few weeks I saw a few squirrels and birds, but nothing too out of the ordinary.
But then as time went on, animal encounters became more and more commonplace until now I have amazing moments with wildlife pretty much every time I go exploring outside.
My strongest animal synchronicity seems to be with the cat family.
When I lived out west I would have repeated and regular encounters with bobcats, and even was visited by 3 mountain lions at my sit spot.
I’ve met many domestic house cats who were either abused or very shy of people, and for whatever reasons, they always seem to relax and feel comfortable having me around.
The crazy thing is from my perspective, I’m not actually doing anything to invite these experiences. Cats just pop out of the woodwork whenever I’m around.
I have similar experiences with Owls too.
I remember one day when I accidentally stumbled across 2 Barred owls, a pygmy owl and a saw-whet owl… all in the same day!
These kinds of experiences are a good sign you’re putting off the kind of non-threatening vibes that animals find very attractive.
Learning From Babies & Toddlers
Here’s another great example that can really illustrate how animal communication works in the real world…
Animals communicate in a way that’s surprisingly similar to how you might communicate with a non-verbal toddler.
Anyone who has spent time around little kids knows that just because they don’t have words yet, doesn’t mean they aren’t communicating!
I recently became an uncle so I’ve been learning this first hand and observing how similar communication with my nieces & nephews is to communicating with bobcats & owls.
One day I was sitting in the living room watching over my nephew. He was hanging out on the floor when suddenly his body language changed and became more urgent.
I could tell he wanted something… but it wasn’t immediately obvious what he actually wanted.
So I asked him, “Do you want something buddy?”
I didn’t expect him to answer of course… I just wanted to let him know I was paying attention.
And even though he couldn’t speak, I did notice a subtle change in his body language.
He had definitely understood what I said and was trying to respond.
It was at this moment when suddenly my mind flashed with an idea…
“Oh! I think he wants the teddy bear!”
So I grabbed the teddy bear and asked him, “Is this what you want?”
He put his arms out and smiled, telling me that was exactly what he was after.
Now, this might sound like a simple interaction, but it’s actually a great example of how animal communication works because almost none of this required any words.
It was more a combination of body language, eye contact, empathy & intuition that helped me correctly identify what he was saying.
But the really important thing here isn’t even the fact that I knew he wanted the bear.
Even more significant was how his attitude towards me shifted after that little interaction.
It was like he recognized how I was able to communicate with him, and he appreciated my sensitivity to his needs.
Can you imagine how significant that would be for a baby to realize that an adult actually understands what they want?
Babies are used to being constantly misunderstood. At times it must be extremely frustrating.
So when I was able to communicate and help him accomplish a goal, suddenly he trusted me a lot more.
The same is true with animals, both wild and domestic.
It’s so rare for animals to meet a human that truly understands and respects their communication.
If you can simply demonstrate that you’re sensitive and respectful to the wants and needs of animals, they will treat you differently and be more open to having a relationship.
Animals Communicate Non-Verbally!
One of the all time most important things to remember here is that animals do NOT communicate with words!
This is often one of the toughest things for humans to comprehend because so many people equate communication and language with the words (like nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc).
But as we’ve already seen in several examples… Animals communicate in a much more primitive and instinctive manner.
It’s more about things like body language, eye contact, personal space, territory, safety, even empathy & intuition.
So if you want to successfully apply this skill then you need to stop thinking like a human and get into the mindset of an animal.
Consider the following questions that are commonly asked by aspiring animal communicators:
- What’s the crow sound that means “hello”?
- How do I tell a squirrel that I’m friendly?
- What does this or that bird call mean?
- What does it mean when the fox makes a barking sound?
From a human perspective, these might seem like very logical questions…
Yet when it comes to animals, these questions won’t actually get you very far because it ignores the non-verbal context in which this communication is taking place!
For example: Sometimes the exact same sound made by a crow can mean many different things depending on the context in which it occurs.
And there are literally dozens of non-verbal or contextual cues that can completely change the meaning of whatever behavior an animal is doing.
It all depends on contextual things like:
- What time of day?
- What time of year or season?
- Whether there are any predators nearby, or nesting activity…
- How long the behavior goes on for…
- The emotional state of that animal…
- Whether it feels safe or threatened…
- Eye contact or lack thereof…
So if you want to understand what animals are communicating, you need to look primarily at the non-verbal cues.
This might seem a bit counter intuitive at first glance, but much of this is even true for human beings.
Just think of all the different things you can communicate without using a single word!
I like you… I’m angry… Hello… Leave me alone… I’m scared… I trust you… I don’t trust you… etc.
None of these messages actually require words to convey.
There have even been studies on humans that show as much as 90% of human communication has absolutely nothing to do with the content of what we say.
When it comes to animals, that number is a lot closer to 100%.
Animals are not philosophers. They’re not having abstract discussions about friendship and love or their plans for the weekend.
They are trying to survive, and therefore 100% of their communication will reflect that survival instinct.
If you remember this one principle, you’ll be way ahead of the game 😉
The Importance Of Sensory Acuity
Since animal communication is primarily non-verbal, it’s extremely important to focus on what your senses are telling you.
This is all about observation, body language, tone of voice, eye contact, and being tuned in with how your own body language is affecting the comfort level and behavior of animals around you.
This is pretty subtle stuff if you’ve never trained your eyes to spot these cues!
It means you need to have really good sensory acuity.
(Quick note: This doesn’t mean you need to have 20/20 vision or perfect hearing… It just means having the ability to identify some basic patterns)
This is often a big area of weakness for people who try to approach animal communication from a completely intuitive perspective.
It’s important (especially in the early stages) that you’re not trying to mind read and hold too many assumptions about what animals are communicating.
I sometimes receive stories from people who claim to “just know” that an animal was following them or trying to tell them something…
Then when I ask them to describe the behavior, it’s obvious to me the animal was simply hiding from a predator or doing something completely unrelated.
Now, I’m all for developing instinct, intuition & empathy, but it’s important to do it with the guidance of common sense!
The cool thing to realize here is that developing sensory awareness is actually one of the BIG keys to activating your intuition.
Activating Intuition About What Animals Are Saying
Many people are drawn to animal communication because they want to be more intuitive or empathetic.
It’s certainly not difficult to see that animals operate from a much more instinctive mindset than humans… but exactly how that intuition works is not well understood.
It’s actually fairly common for people to have experiences of knowing things without knowing how they know…
Sometimes it might just be a weird sense of being watched or followed, that later reveals they were being stalked by a mountain lion.
Other times someone’s face might flash in your mind just before they call you on the telephone after a long time apart.
Many people believe these intuitive hits are actually a real sixth sense that science hasn’t quite discovered yet.
But even if you don’t believe in that kind of stuff, it’s perfectly reasonable to think that there’s some sort of subconscious recognition of information that happens beyond conscious awareness.
All you have to do is look at people like Albert Einstein to see that the some of the biggest breakthroughs in human understanding came from moments of intuition rather than directly obvious logic.
Even the most hard-nosed scientists will experience gut feelings and sudden flashes in the mind.
And in fact, intuitive scientists can often be more accomplished than their more conventional counterparts.
The human brain is constantly sorting and deleting information and doing the best it can to bring the most important details to consciousness.
But the one thing that’s clear is there’s way more processing at an unconscious level than we can ever hope to realize consciously.
I personally believe that intuition is simply the result of subconscious messages coming to the surface without realizing the exact source of that knowing.
This also reveals the complete formula behind how the best animal communicators do what they do.
Sensory Awareness + Intuition = Animal Communication
The best animal communicators use both intuition AND deductive sensory awareness to maximize their accuracy and really get the best results.
Most people are either strong in very logical sensory awareness skills, or they’re strong in intuition.
It’s extremely rare to meet someone who has actively worked on developing both their observation skills and their intuition.
But to have the greatest possible success with animal communication, you really need to develop BOTH.
The 2 biggest mistakes made by aspiring animal communicators are:
Mistake #1 – Trying to use your intuition without sensory acuity.
Mistake #2 – Trying to use your sensory acuity without intuition.
For very logical and scientific people, it can sometimes be difficult to accept that there are actually useful messages coming to you from a subconscious level.
On the other hand… sometimes people who are more drawn to the intuitive side of life have a strong tendency to try and escape their senses.
I’ve seen supposedly “super tuned in” people make some pretty stupid mistakes simply because they didn’t have their eyes open.
So don’t be an air head!
Your accuracy with knowing what animals are saying will only improve when you can combine BOTH intuition and sensory acuity together as one.
A Real Life Example Of Animal Intuition
One of the best examples I can share of how this really works is something I learned from practicing bird language for over 10 years now.
If you don’t already know… bird language is not just about birds.
It’s actually a general wildlife tracking skill used to quickly locate animals at a distance by following alarm behaviors.
It’s also one of the best ways to develop sharp animal communication skills with all types of animals.
The weird thing I’ve learned about bird language & intuition over many years of study & practice is this…
Bird alarms are much more likely to result in animal encounters when there’s an associated shift in my mental state.
Consider these 2 scenarios:
- You hear an alarm in the forest, and immediately get an image of a hawk in your mind’s eye.
- You hear an identical alarm, but nothing changes in your own inner experience.
Notice that in both cases, the physical situation is identical.
The exact same bird could be making the exact same sound in pretty much the same spot.
Yet when bird alarms are associated with an image flashing in my mind’s eye, I’m much more likely to actually find a cat sneaking through, or the hawk whisping by.
Now, I have no idea why this would be.
Maybe I’m just more persistent when I get an intuitive flash, or maybe my brain is serving up some kind of more subtle information than what I’m consciously tuned with.
The reason itself doesn’t really matter…
The important thing is that intuition + sensory awareness gets much better results than sensory awareness alone.
This is why as you develop your senses, it’s also a good idea to keep an intuition journal.
- Write down your gut feelings.
- Any images that flash in your mind.
- Even stray thoughts that seem to come out of nowhere.
At first these mental impressions will just be a jumble of sensory experiences that don’t have any pattern, but eventually you’ll start to notice there are times when you see the raccoon in your mind before seeing it in real life.
This is a sign that you’re learning to tell the difference between wishful thinking and true intuition coming from the subconscious.
I always tell my students to keep 80-90% of your focus external, and 10-20% internal.
This seems to be the best ratio of staying connected with your senses, while also tracking the information coming from your instincts.
Sometimes it might come in the form of a mental flash or insight, or you might get a gut sense of being pushed or pulled in a certain direction.
You may not know where it comes from.
You can’t really explain it, but if you take an attitude of curiosity, I think you’ll see there’s actually some useful information here.
Broadcasting A Peaceful Vibe
The biggest takeaway I want to give you when it comes to animal communication is that it’s all about the overall vibe and energy you put off.
This is what really what determines the context of your interaction.
In order to communicate with animals they have to trust you first.
Animals hate having their comfort zone violated. It’s disrespectful and threatening.
They will NEVER trust you until you can demonstrate that you’re tuned in with what they’re feeling and treat them with respect.
This means that when you focus all your energy on staring at them and calling at them and following them around… that’s weird behavior!
Just imagine how you would feel if someone repeatedly stared at you and called out at you and focused all their energy on you.
Instead, you need to let go of wanting to communicate. Let go of wanting to make animals do anything and just appreciate them.
Just focus on developing your own awareness.
Cultivate a quiet, peaceful and open attitude towards all of nature, and they will see that you are becoming more like them.
As you become more wild and connected with your senses, they will see you acting differently and respecting their boundaries.
That’s when animals will really start to treat you differently too.
They will come closer when you’re outside, they’ll be less scared of you, and with practice, you’ll be ready for some very cool encounters!
If you really want to get great at animal communication, I’d love to work with you in my phone mentoring program!
One of my favorite things is helpful people go super deep with their connection to nature.
It’s the whole reason I created NatureMentor to help nature lovers just like you around the world.
You can do this!
Have fun out there, and let me know what you discover!