A Barred Owl’s Call on a Cool, Dark Night

Returning home to Georgia after a long Labor Day weekend visit to the coast, it felt as if we came back to a different place. We left a sunny, very hot dry summer, with temperatures day after day in the mid to upper 90s – and came back to cool, gray, damp weather with highs in the mid 70s. It’s only a preview of fall, I know – the heat will return. But it’s nice.

The change came as the remnants of tropical storm Lee moved up from the Gulf, and here, we only got a little rain, not enough to do much to help the very dry conditions. But the change has been cool enough to open the windows at night – so last night around 3:00 or 4:00 am, for the first time in months, I heard the calls of a Barred Owl somewhere around our back yard, very near by. I think it was a female. She only hooted twice, two good strong hoooo-uhs, and the call seemed to vibrate, almost a purr, that I could feel, as well as hear. Though the call looks so simple when I try to transcribe it into words, it is rich with variations, fluid with low, subtle sounds impossible to capture, like rippling reflections of colors – mesmerizing to hear, to listen to, and imagine what it might be telling. There’s a world of mystery in that one deep, resonant call.

Leave a Reply