Tuesday, April 8, 2014


There is a small section of woods at our property boundary where we hear owls quite frequently and where last fall we even watched one for a while.

Last week we saw what we thought was a large owl or maybe a hawk fly down this draw and alight on a branch in the dead center of this photo.   I snapped the pics [no telephoto...] and couldn't wait to get them home to blow them up to see what this bird was.

Indeed it was a large owl.   This is a barred owl, staring straight at us.  

Owls are a very different type of bird to watch.   Other birds may be still, but they are very active in their presence.    If you know what I mean.   Owls are .....very still. 

And when they get going, they are very noisy.   Barred owls' typical call is 'Who cooks for youuuu?  Who cooks for youu-alll?'   But they can also sound like monkeys hooting and calling.  Seriously.   It's weird and creepy in the dark. 
Lily and I heard a couple of these guys calling each other in this thicket last fall at dusk and it'd make your hair stand on end.

Like coyotes, only ghostlier. 

Cornell Lab of Ornithology [allaboutbirds.org] has some recordings:  Here. Go to the Sound tab in the bottom section.

We also get other owls, like these adorable little eastern screech-owls [which don't really screech, they tremolo and whinny].    And the occasional great horned owl.  We also might get barn owls, but they hiss, so the call is difficult to hear over the other night sounds like cicadas and crickets.   It's noisy here at night.

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