Why is my fridge making noises?

A fridge unused 6 mo, made a yap-yap-yap sound; unplugged it. Help! It did it briefly at first, so left it on. Each time the yapping got worse. The next morning it didn't stop so I unplugged it. Yet it cooled and made ice as if nothing was wrong. (I knew to start w/ low settings and go up just one level per day, so that wasn't the problem. It is 12 yrs old but gets used less than 3 mo. per yr. as it is in a summer vacation home.
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