17 November 2007
My husband started to rake leaves in our backyard at 4:15 this afternoon. It began raining and the sun set before he finished so I put on a yellow rain slicker and went out in the dark to help him load the leaf bags.
By the time we were loading the second bag the rain was serious. Bent over with my hood up I heard a trill like a cell phone. I froze in place. “He’s here! But where?”
My husband isn’t a bird watcher but he knows that sound. He paused too. We were getting wetter by the minute and the call did not repeat. My husband said, “Well, if he’s here, he’ll call again.” Sure enough, he did.
Our eastern screech-owl is back. We think of him as ours only because we listen for him and have seen him a few times. In the winter he roosts in my neighbor’s spruce trees and hunts for critters beneath our bird feeders. He usually begins calling in autumn and is quite vocal into January. In early spring I once saw him perched on my neighbor’s telephone wire with his mate.
Tonight our owl decided to say something. Perhaps he was commenting on how silly people can be, messing with wet leaves in the dark. Listen to the sound at this link.
Update Tues 11/20/2007: Tonight the screech-owl gave the whinny call. Listen at this link.