Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Whoo Hoo Hoo Hoo!

Sometimes on a still night when the window is open, we are startled awake with a booming call.

WHOO HOO HOO HOO!

We have lived in our wooded neighborhood in Chapel Hill for eight years, but it was not until two days ago that my husband finally caught a glimpse of the barred owl. Some say the owl's call sounds like "who cooks for you all." I disagree. The barred owl is not saying anything so mundane. His hooting is terrifying, other-worldly, a scream in the night. 


Sometime after 6 p.m., my husband saw a large bird in an apparent struggle on the ground under the neighbor's trellis. The owl then flew, clutching a small animal, into a pine tree. Since the owl's back was turned, he whistled to make it turn around. The owl's eyes are uncanny, I think. I can't stop looking into them.

7 comments :

Stacy said...

How exciting finally to "lay your ghost," so to speak. Those eyes really are eerie--so hooded and dark! I went to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology site and listened to the recording and must say that there are some imaginative people with food fixations out there to hear "who cooks for you all" in that. I'm with you--it's far too other-worldly!

Donna said...

we have spied one of these wonderful birds a couple of times in our area and once in our garden....so incredible, silent...I have not heard their call though

pumpkydine said...

What a great chance to see a very interesting bird. One of those often heard but seldom seen birds. Did you know their feathers are designed so that they make almost no noise in flight? Hope your "Bunny" faired ok with the visitor in the neighborhood!

Karin / Southern Meadows said...

How incredible! I hear owls in my garden too but have never seen them. I would be over the moon if I saw one like you did and to capture it on camera as well! Amazing!

Sheila said...

Stacy, it was like laying a ghost! Since I didn't see the owl myself and the photo is slightly blurred, it seems even more ghostly ...

Donna, you'll know it when you hear the call ...

Pumpkydine, that's interesting about the noiseless feathers. It's true I've never heard one flying, though I've listened between calls at night. All of a sudden the calls will cease, and the night will return to silence. The bunny was sighted the next morning, eating Swiss chard seeds :)

Karin, I only wish I had seen it, too. I did see one a couple of years ago about a mile up the road, sitting in a low tree branch. It was also sometime after 6 p.m. So they must occasionally come out before dark.

Bridget said...

Great that you got a pic. I love Owls but have'nt seen one in a few years now.

Heather@RestoringTheLandscape.com said...

Great photo of the owl. I had one fly within a couple of feet of me a few weeks ago at the park. It made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Such beautiful birds.
Heather