Admittedly less attentive than in past years, we have fretted about the barn owls. The usual chirping sounds as they fly have been absent; a silhouette atop the owl box missing in the twilight of the evening.
Listening for them, we have heard, in the distance, the hooting of the Great Horned Owl also native to these parts, a natural predator of our owls.
Have the barn owls moved on to a safer domain, leaving our box uninhabited for this season???
Working this past week to clear the wedding path behind the hedge, I imagined (heard?) ever so slight noises coming from the box.
Dedicating my labors to making their surroundings as enticing as possible, I vowed to sit outside that evening from the first hint of dusk until I could no longer see the box in the dark…watching…listening…
and…they came in the twilight!!!…one swooping in silently over the yard, wings at full spread, the other from over the field. BUT, flying directly into the box – no silent contemplation on the roof as in years past…AND they are quiet, no chirping to announce their arrival. Are these simply a different pair with their own behavior pattern, OR could the hoot owls be causing them to keep a lower profile this year??? I wish we could communicate – I would ask.
Actually, I choose to think that we do communicate in a fashion: the next morning a ‘thank you’ left under the box…perhaps in appreciation of my efforts with the landscape!
*Great Horned Owl: photo of reproduction of The Original Water-Color Paintings by John James Audubon for The Birds of America