Working late at night is so much more rewarding when the window is open and the forest is right next door.
A few weeks ago, a neighbour showed me a family of Western Screech Owls right in a tree near the fence between our two yards. We tiptoed over near the fence and looked straight up. There was a mother with three fluffy little fledglings. I felt very privileged to see these rare birds, now endangered in Canada. We didn’t see them again and I was hoping they were still around here somewhere, safe and sound.
Early this morning I heard some hauntingly beautiful calls that were so distinctive I knew this must be the screech owls. I have heard owls on other evenings, but never so close. I didn’t think to record the sound, but today I looked up examples to make sure I was right about who it might have been. Every call is a little different, and this one went back and forth for quite some time. The trill came from just outside my window, high above my studio in a tall cedar.
Thanks to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for providing a downloadable little sound clip as a reminder of the owl song. It sounded very similar to the example attached at the bottom of this post.
My neighbour took a photo of the little babes huddled together high up in the tree. I couldn’t resist including a little image of these owls in a painting I was planning about the history of Woodhaven Conservancy, so I asked Leah’s permission to refer to her photo for their appearance. The detail section for this is attached as a banner for this post. I will post a photo of the rest of the tall narrow (48″ x 24″) painting later.