Saturday, June 30, 2012

Alice Has a Wild Visitor

Alice has had access to her screened in "patio" for a few weeks now.  She's free to be in her room or out in her patio as she chooses, thanks to a pet door we installed in her window.

Most nights she spends indoors, but a few nights she's spent outside.  I've been wondering how long it would take before a wild owl would notice her there, and early this morning we got our answer.

We were lying in bed sleeping at 3:30 AM like normal human beings should be.  Somewhere in my head some hooting registered, so I kind of came to.  I heard hooting on the other side of the house and after a few hoots realized it was loud enough that it had to be an owl visiting Alice!

Delilah the Great Horned Owl by karlaowl

I quickly whispered to Hein that there was an owl visiting Alice, then groped my way through the dark hallway (now minus carpet), down the stairs, through a maze of plastic sheets that are hanging in the kitchen and living room as Hein removes the plaster and lathe wall there, and back to the computers to grab my headphones and recorder.  I didn't want to turn the light on and spook the owl, so it was a bit of a challenge to do this in the dark.

I met Hein just outside the door to Alice's room.  I went in, slipped on my headphones, turned on my recorder, and held it next to Alice's pet door.  The wild owl was so close it must have been perch on the roof just above me.  Alice was hooting too, and she was LOUD.  I had to turn the recording volume way down.
There was no moon out at the time, so I couldn't see where the owl was, even when I heard it fly (they're only silent when they glide, not when they flap.)  Hein went back to the bedroom and fished out the generation 2 night vision.  It wasn't much help because as soon as I switched on the illuminator, the IR light just reflected off the screen and mesh on the walls of Alice's patio.  There wasn't enough starlight to see without the IR light.

Mentally I was trying to figure out which owl this was.  It wasn't Scarlett Owl Hara...I know her hoot well.  I could tell by the rhythm of the hoot that it was a female, but I couldn't tell if it was the new female that lives at the farm next door or if it was maybe Jezebelle, the female who showed up for a few days in August last year.

Once I had enough recordings Hein and I made our way downstairs and out into the porch.  Hein just installed a motion sensor light there which I'm not used to yet, so it popped on.  Oops!  We stepped outside to see if we could see the owl with the night vision and IR illumination, but she flew right away.  I didn't mind spooking her, since I didn't want her to get too huffy with Alice no matter whooo it was.

We went back to bed but the hooting just continued.  Rusty and Iris were all riled up and hooting, so eventually the wild owl flew over to hoot at them.  At 5:00 AM she was still hooting, this time in the trees outside the bedroom window.  There was enough light I could see her in the pine tree without night vision. Victor was hooting too and I was extra careful to listen for Virginia (didn't hear her) since we just rescued a sick Great Horned Owl from the far side of Victor and Virginia's territory.  But I finally drifted off to sleep, so I assume she finally went home.

The next morning I reviewed recordings to figure out which owl this was.  It turned out to be the new female that showed up on the farm next door with a new male in late fall.  They don't come by often, and I haven't picked names for them yet.  Anyone have any suggestions?  I need to give them names since they are going to be regular characters in this soap opera.  She's more talkative than he is, but otherwise I don't know too much about them.  Scarlett Owl Hara is farther to the west than they are.

Let me know your suggestions for names...I need some!


  1. Sounds like an interesting time! I love owls, though I don't get to see them very often as I live in the city.

  2. How about Ginger for a name? gsogirl59

  3. How about twilight or ezylryb

  4. release entrance 2012/17/10 before? 20:58~ & AFTER rusty & iris get near, start howling and stuff, then look at eachother. something definitely worth checking out

  5. Thanks for the note CR055H41RZ. Looks like they were just getting a bit "owly" with each each other's space so Iris did some annoyed chitters.

  6. Loved hearing the recording of the wild owl hooting! It certainly is a soap owlpera there :-)

  7. great audio karla....ginger for the female like gso said and snap for the boy?? what do ya think? onecraftyone

  8. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip....since she is clearly the more dominant of the two.

  9. How about Ray Ray and Pookie??