Have you been outside at night recently? There's a lot going on in your back yard these days. Fireflies are flashing their intentions to potential mates, cicadas are buzzing incessantly, crickets are chirping and there's no silence in the night.Birds are out there, too. The onomatopoetic call of the whippoor-will, whose numbers are in decline, can still be heard around here. Owls abound. Great horned and screech owls can be heard (and sometimes seen), along with the familiar "who cooks for you" of the barred owl.Many other animals are also nocturnal by nature. Deer, while often seen during daylight hours, do most of their browsing between dusk and dawn. Opossums come out at night looking for insects, earthworms, carrion and pet food. Foxes usually keep to their cool burrows during the day, but come out at night to eat. Raccoons are also on the prowl. Being omnivores, their diet can vary according to habitat and availability of food sources. Preferring crab and crawfish in wetter areas, they're also fond of berries, fruits and seeds. In fact, if your bird feeder is empty (or missing) in the morning, chances are that you've been visited by the masked bandit. Keep in mind that seeing any of these animals during daylight hours isn't necessarily a cause for alarm. If they are eating or drinking and don't exhibit any unusual behavior, there's little chance they are rabid.Bats also come out at dusk. Despite a lot of negative publicity, bats are one of our greatest allies, consuming thousands of mosquitoes and other annoying pests each evening. Bat houses are available if you want to attract nature's insect control to your yard. By the way, bats are not just flying mice. They belong to the order Chiroptera and are not rodents at all.My favorite of the night critters is the Southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans). They are so small and unobtrusive that most people don't even realize that we have them here. They do not so much fly as glide. Membranes on both sides of the body reach from wrist to ankle, and when fully outstretched form a wing-like surface. The tail acts as a rudder to enable these fascinating rodents to glide from tree to tree.Flying squirrels usually make their nests in tree cavities, sometimes in old woodpecker nests, and have been known to usurp bluebird boxes. Their diet consists of acorns, nuts, berries, fruit and seeds. They also cache nuts for the winter, like their diurnal cousins, grey squirrels.It is certainly possible to attract flying squirrels to your backyard feeding station, as I have done. Every evening my night rodents get a supply of dried corn on the cob, peanuts in the shell and mixed nuts. They're also fond of grapes and oranges. I enjoy watching them fly in for the night's repast, and I'm often chastised if I don't show up with their dinner until well after dusk. Fortunately, I have neighbors who are willing to feed them when I'm on vacation. My passel has grown over the years and I have seen as many as 20 at a time. Spend a little time outdoors in these warm summer evenings. You never know "whoooo" you'll encounter.On a side note: during these drought conditions don't forget your wildlife friends. Keep birdbaths clean and full of fresh water and if regulations permit, run a sprinkler or mister. They will surely appreciate it and you might get some really good sightings.