Sounds of Encouragement


Ward and June are becoming increasingly vocal and are showing a greater interest in the nest box. June has made two nighttime nest entries for some light housekeeping in the last week. On one occasion, she brought Ward with her and they both offered their opinions on the new furniture (woodchips and owlet ladder) by hooting and squealing. They also engaged in this mating duet (165KB) that I recorded on March 25th. While the increased activity makes nesting likely, it is still far below the level that preceded last year's nesting season. The next couple of weeks should provide the answer.

After listening to the above sound clip, you may enjoy the following account of the courting antics of some of Ward and June's ancestors. It is from A.C. Bent's classic "Life Histories of  North American Birds of Prey, Part Two. The events described occurred here in Massachusetts in March of 1927. The Puritan ancestry of the observer is as apparent as the links between Ward and June and their ancestors:

" At one of my lonely wilderness camps in the month of March a pair of Barred Owls came to the trees over my campfire and made night hideous with their grotesque love-making, banishing sleep during the evening hours. Their courting antics, as imperfectly seen by moonlight and firelight, were ludicrous in the extreme. Perched in rather low branches over the fire they nodded and bowed with half-spread wings, and wobbled and twisted their heads from side to side, meantime uttering the most weird and uncouth sounds imaginable. Many of them were given with the full power of their lungs without any regard to the sleepers --- "


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