Thursday, July 30, 2009

Screech owls

[The title link is to TOS]

Our eastern Screech owl is a little thing that inhabits my back yard. I hadn't heard him nearly enough this summer to even feel comfortable that they'd stayed around. Until, the other night. With all the rain maybe they've taken to cover but that night was not exactly dry, either. Between the noise of the rain, the periodic train whistles, cars, and helicopters and everything that kind of go over my place, I finally heard a call again. It's not that I live in a noisy part of town. My neighborhood is quit calm and quiet late in the evenings and by mid-morning you could hear a pin drop. It can get eerily quiet.

The screech owl does not screech. Folklore has it the name comes from it's imitating a woman's scream. I always thought they sounded more like a horse whinny or a loon with a cold. The other half of the call is a (very) quiet warble. Apparently, he doesn't have to yell out his location or his intentions. She can hear perfectly him well, thank you very much. Maybe she isn't interested.

But, still, this seems late in the summer either to hear screech or not. We've had a cool July (and wet, too) which may have had some effect. August has started off more like August ought to be--hotter. My failing memory makes me want to think screech owls have not been calling rather than my old ears being inadequate to hearing. It would be easy to miss the low notes because of ambient noise in a given neighborhood. And, too, a person has to be sensitive to the call otherwise it just mixes in with thebackground.

The bird club members have been noting the same problem. We now are posting the occasional callings whereas I suspect years before we didn't hardly bother with an every evening occurance. That's how strange it can get.

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