Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ghostly trills.

Last night there was an owl party right outside my window. It happens pretty frequently here, which makes me think that the property around my house must be the prime territory of a local owl. Hoo'da thunk it? (Har har.) After doing some research on just who lives around here, I figured out that the sounds I've been hearing at night are the vocalizations of a Western Screech Owl.

Western Screech Owl

Now, when I think of  "screech owls", I imagine owls who make a terrifying screaming sound. Apparently they do that sometimes, but their more general territorial call is a ghostly-sweet trilling. I'm kicking myself today, because the owl vocalizations outside my window would have been wonderful to record... but instead I stayed snuggled up in bed and listened from the comfort of my bedroom. So to hear an example of this pretty nighttime song, you'll have to click here. In the audio sample linked, you'll hear a single voice, but what I heard last night involved at least 2 separate voices, one high and one low. There is an audio recording here of a pair of owls, male and female, excitedly chattering. It sounds closer to what I was hearing, although it does seem like the wrong time of year for owls to be looking for love--so perhaps it was a territorial discussion instead. The next time I hear it, I'll get out of bed, power up my audio recorder, and go out on the deck. 

My pal Gerry suggested I try to view my owl friends next time I hear a party going on. I'm hoping I can get some recommendations from birding friends about the best way to peep night birds (Red lights? Night vision feature on my old camcorder?) These little beauties live in my neck of the woods, Western Oregon, year round. I'll keep you posted as I get to know them better.

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