Archive for May 1st, 2008

Whoo Goes There?

I awoke this morning at the crack of dawn — literally. Of course, our “granddogs” want fed and out as soon as I stir, but when Chief ran out the door I heard a great flapping noise. He stopped suddenly beside the pool, postured in a defensive stance, and started to bark. When Sarge followed, he too stayed close to the house, but seemed content to act as a back up and let Chief take charge. With barely any light, I couldn’t see anything. Still not sure what I had heard, there was suddenly a new noise that closely resembled the barking of a wild dog, but was more rhythmic and repetitive like a bird call. What did we have in the yard? A coyote? An owl? Is that what originally woke me? Our lazy Phoebe wasn’t ready to get up and protect me I guess. She slept through the whole thing.

I decided it must have been an owl since the original noise sounded more like fluttering or flapping than anything else and there was a distinctive pattern to its bark-like call. I Googled “owl sounds like a dog” to find that some owls do indeed sound like a dog, and there were even several recordings made of barred owls heard in Texas, and of great horned owls, which are also found in Texas.

Living where we do, we often hear the typical hooting of owls nearby and it’s not my first encounter with an owl in the yard. (No, I don’t mean our fake one to keep birds out of one of our front trees.) Years ago when I was out doing some early morning gardening by our wooded creek, a huge owl swooped almost silently over my head, flying from one tall tree to its hollowed out nesting place in another. It was more the shadow it cast as it flew overhead than the noise that alerted me, but I was impressed with its enormous wingspan, and pleased to discover its secret home.

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