Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Things that go Hoot in the night

We have owls. Lots of owls, all around us, apparently. Which is really very cool, except for the incessant hooting, all night long. They are really increadibly loud and obnoxious, I think there must be about a dozen of them sitting right outside the bedroom window.

Since I haven't actually seen the owl(s) involved in this hooting extravaganza, I went online to see if I could identify them by their hoot. And sure enough, I was able to find a couple of likely suspects. The internet is so cool sometimes! If you click on the links below you will go to pages that have the audio files so you too can hear the owls hooting.

The most likely culprit seems to be the Great Horned Owl, which appears to be super common all over the US and pretty unpicky about their habitat.

Another possibility is the Barred Owl which mates and establishes its territory around this time of year. Both activities apparently involve a lot of hooting, and it likes swampy areas with mixed forest and grassland. Not that we have anything like that around here.

The third suspect, the infamous Spotted Owl actually has the hoot that sounds the most like what I've been hearing, but it seems unlikely that such a rare bird with a thoroughly documented need for unfragemented old-growth forest habitat is sitting outside my windows at night.

No matter which owl is living with us, I AM glad to have it nearby. Especially since a single owl eats about 2200 rodents per year! I'm sure I will get used to all the hooting eventually, and I won't really HEAR them anymore than I hear the frogs or the crickets. But until then, they're making it hard to sleep!

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