A few nights ago I came home late from work. It was pitch dark, cold and windy outside as I was talking to my kitties as they followed me up the porch stairs. Something caught my ear and I froze. Great Caesar's Ghost, I think that was an owl!! You see, I've lived in my neighborhood for almost 12 years now and have only heard one Screech owl during one summer 11 years ago.
This was no Screech owl. It started hooting and I hooted back. Silence. Then it hooted again, this time a little closer. I hooted again. Silence. Silence. Silence. Just when I thought it must have flown away it hooted again. I almost jumped out of my shoes as it must have been in the tree right next to me. I crazily reached for my cell phone to call my neighbors and was trying to hoot and dial their number at the same time. Well, the owl must have realized I was hooting under false pretenses since I looked up towards the tree just in time to see him fly off to the back yard. By this time my neighbors came by and we were treated to another five minutes of hooting, along with a very distant hoot coming from the woods across the street.
As soon as I got in my house I called my niece Meagan, who is a naturalist, hooted to her over the phone and she immediately recognized it as a Barred Owl. How cool is that!!
Check out this link to see a short video of a Barred Owl and hear his amazing call.
(photo of Barred Owl courtesy of All About Birds website at Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
Isn't he/she just magnificent! Hearing this owl really made my week!