Over the last few months Eric has been hearing owls at night. A lot of owls, calling back and forth to each other across the yard. Because I am of the walkman generation and I never turned the music down when told, I’m effectively deaf; I can’t hear them. I have to take his word for it.
Last night just past nightfall I was in the living room and there was a motion outside. I looked out and saw an enormous owl glide by just outside the patio doors. It was obviously an owl — nothing that big flies at night, and it was completely silent as it flew by. “Holy shit! that was huge!” Eric exclaimed.
I jumped up and and ran into the bedroom where it was dark and I could see out the windows. If I leaned close to the screens I could hear the owls this time: two of them, call and response, a trademark halloween hoo-hoo-hoo from one side of the yard to the other. Then I saw one of the owls glide down from a branch and pounce on something in the lawn. Its wingspan must have been four feet wide and as before it was totally silent — whatever it grabbed didn’t know what hit it. The owl stood on the lawn munching on its critter for a good long time, long enough for me to run and get binoculars out to watch.
Eric had come to see the owl and pointed out that there was another owl sitting on the light pole right nearby. It was too dark to get a good view of this owl even through binoculars but I could tell that it about two feet high, and dark, and it had ears. The owl on the ground ate its prey and the owl on the light pole watched for a while, and then both flew away into the night.
Consulting my Sibley’s it appears that given the size and the color and the ears there’s probably no other owl that these could be other than the great horned owl. This is kind of cool because I was growing up I used to be fascinated by Spooky, the resident great horned owl at the Boston Museum of Science. I like having my own owls in residence.
Owlpages at the link above has an MP3 of great horned owls pair calling. That’s definitely our owls.