Remember the owl Romie and I heard down at the cemetery last Thursday evening? I forgot to tell you what happened later that night. We had gone to bed and sometime around 4:00 a.m., I was awakened by a familiar sound.
I nudged Romie to wake him so he could hear it too, and he mumbled something about a cat. I shook him a little more forcefully and then he said, "It sounds like the owl's in our tree." Indeed she was and whooping repeatedly and loudly.
I got up and went downstairs to get my camera, which also takes videos. It was too dark to see much of anything out there, but I wanted to record the audio. I took three one-minute segments and each was pretty much identical to the other. I'm not sure what kind of owl we're hearing, but we think it's a female calling out for a male. If anyone would like to listen to her and identify what you hear, I'd welcome any information. The white spot on the video is the moon.
Fast forward to Monday morning. For some reason, I awoke around 5:30 and since our bedroom windows face east, I was treated to a spectacular site of the crescent moon and lots of bright stars. One of them was so sparkly bright that I first thought it must be an airplane headed for Ft. Wayne International Airport, 35 miles to the west. We see them in the night on a fairly regular basis and this far out they are descending, preparing to land. This makes their lights shine unusually bright.
The bright light didn't move though, so then I figured it to be Venus. There are actually three planets that can be seen in the early morning sky right now - Mars, Venus and Saturn. A great website to see what's happening in the sky is Heavens Above. You can customize it with your exact location and use it as I have, to track possible sightings of the International Space Station, iridium flares, meteor showers, and general positions of the planets.
I snapped a few quick photos then went back to bed. Romie got up to get ready for work a short time later, but I didn't have to be anywhere so I soon fell back asleep. When Romie got home from work yesterday, he said to me, "You went back to bed too soon. I almost woke you up so you could hear what I was hearing." SO WHY DIDN'T YOU?? He does this a lot - tells me what I missed and apparently I'm missing quite a bit. :-(
It seems the female owl was on the prowl again, calling to the male. Except this time, she wasn't taking no for an answer, and as it turns out, she didn't have to. As she called out, the male answered back. As the calls became more urgent, Romie said you could hear the male getting excited by the way he answered back to her. Geesh. Men are men, even when they're birds.
She flew to join him and it got quiet. Romie wasn't sure if they left to go back to 'his place' or hers. LOL. In any case, we hear the regular hooting of owls so often here that the sound is comforting and I miss hearing it when they're away.
The owl is thought so wise to be,
as he sits on a limb of a tree.
At night from where he is said to see
all the things that a wise owl should see.
It’s strange though, as he relates to me,
in the daylight hours he visits me,
with a hoot and a hoot repeatedly.
He sits in a tree near enough to me,
so I can clearly hear his hoot,
that is a message of good things
that is soon to be.
His hooting sound, I have found
is a message of a happy event
when I hear him around.
I sometimes hear him before I get out of bed,
and his greeting to me, I know not to dread.
I start my day with a smile on my face,
because he told with his hoot
the day would be filled with
happy news that is filled with grace.
- Judith Pleasant
EDIT: Brad, the DNR person that DogMom refers to, has revised his identification of our owl. In further communication with DogMom, I suggested that perhaps it was a juvenile Great Horned Owl, since the answering one sounded like one of those. You know, Mom and Baby. Brad now believes that it is indeed a juvenile Great Horned Owl, and said that they don't 'hoot' until they are about a year old. We have seen and heard mature Great Horned Owls here before, so this makes sense.
In checking several owl sites and listening to their songs, I now know that the loon I thought I'd been hearing at various times during the summer was actually the Eastern Screech Owl. But it's the Great Horned Owl that we hear on a regular basis beginning early evening and through the night.
Thank you so much, Kim and Brad, for your help in identifying our noisy visitor!