Friday, December 18, 2009

What a Hoot!

I know that for some of you bloggers who live on acres and acres of land, hearing an owl is a somewhat common occurrence. But for us living in an urban neighborhood, it is magical.

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!


Amy & the house of cats said...

I can totally understand what you mean - for a week last summer there was an owl outside somewhere hooting at night - I thought it was so cool because we don't get that often in the suburbs! I wasn't lucky enough to see ours though - that is very cool that you got to!

JC said...

We have owls .. every once in a while I can hear them but nothing like that one. (I live in the woods)

Dog_geek said...

Cool! We may live on acres and acres of land, but don't kid yourself - I still get excited when I see or hear an owl - and it doesn't happen very often!

KGMom said...

Oh Christine, this is wonderfully funny--in just the right way.
You hooting, and calling your niece and hooting to her.
Love it.
I agree--hearing owls in suburbia is very special.

SeaThreePeeO said...

We've never heard and owl, but would love to!

Angel Ginger Jasper said...

That wouldhave made my year How wonderful to be so close to that. I hope he decides to come back. Afew months ago I was out on a call about three in the morning and was lucky enough to see a Barn owl swoop down to catch something. That was a sight I wont forget. Keep looking out and hopefully you will be lucky enough to see your visitor.. Hugs Carol and GJ x

las794 said...

That is so cool!

Kari said...

You saw an owl! In the city! How cool is that! Hope he doesn't end up injured or getting shot.

Wildrun said...

I live on a road called Owl Creek and it is aptly named. We have barred owls and screech owls. One day I was walking out of the door of my lower barn at night and got whomped in the chest by something, and I screamed pretty loudly as two "somethings" flapped around on the ground in front of me. I ran like hell and came back with a flashlight. When I came back, there were owl tracks going to feather marks in the snow, and a little bit of blood. Apparently an owl had been coming back to the barn with his (still live) grouse. I went into the barn and shined the flashlight up, and there he/she was. I leave the door open all the time now that I know owls hang out in the barn.

Mary said...

Very cool, Christine. I've only heard a Great Horned about 3 times in 4 years here! Lucky you!

I see hawks and vultures all the time, but the owls... I've never seen one in the wild, other than a GHO's silohuette.

Happy New Year!


Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

Hi Christine! What a great experience for you. Bet you forgot about the cold huh?
I haven't heard a owl hoot, but a couple years ago I went on an owl watch. Seen several beautiful owls. The best was we went into field to view another bird when a Great Horned Owl flew over. Twice. Oh my how big and beautiful they are.
Well Happy New Year to you and yours Christine. Lisa