It was early morning, maybe 5:30, and I was working on an article for this web site when I heard it. “Who! Who!”
My wife the Beautiful AP came into the office. “What was that?”
“I don’t know,” I said.
“Who! Who!…Who! Who! Who!”
“Wow, it sounds like an owl,” she said.
“Yeah, yeah,” I agreed. “It does.”
Our office is in the back of the house and it is three-quarters windows. The “who, who” seemed to be coming from the corner of the room nearest to my desk. AP’s desk is in the center of the room; behind her back are the cages of our two parrots that were not yet uncovered from their night’s rest.
“Who! Who!” came the sound again.
“Oh, man,” I said. “Now that is definitely an owl. It sounds like it is right outside this window in front of me.”
“Who! Who!…Who! Who!”
“No, no, it’s to your left on Brendon’s side of the house,” she said gesturing towards our neighbor’ home.
I went around my desk to the window and peeked through the shade. “I don’t see anything in the bushes or on the fence. Nothing on Brendon’s side either.”
We shut off all the lights in the office and both of us scoured the yard.
“Who! Who! Who!”
“Oh, yeah, that damn thing is right here!” I said.
“I’m going out with my camera and binoculars. I might be able to get a good picture,” she said, scurrying to grab her gear. “Wouldn’t that be cool?”
“I remember that owl in the tree about 15 years ago,” I said. “But that was really far away. This thing is right here.” I pointed to the windows.
The Great Horned Owl is an apex predator, a large creature that can even scare hawks. It’s not a creature you want to have hunting you.
AP went outside and I kept looking out the office windows. In about 15 minutes she came back. “Nothing,” she said, disappointed. “I couldn’t even hear it.”
“Really?” I asked. “It cooed a few times while you were out there.”
“I didn’t hear a thing,” she said, perplexed.
We didn’t solve the mystery right then. But when we came back from the pool (we swim most mornings) we heard the owl again.
“We’re never going to find that thing,” I shouted from the kitchen.
“We don’t have to,” she said from the office. “Listen!”
And the owl gave a double hoot, loud like crazy. It sounded as if it were in the house.
“Come in here!” AP called to me.
I came in.
“It’s right there.” She pointed to my computer.
“It’s the live cam that Paul gave us,” she laughed.
“Oh, for crying out loud,” I said.
Paul is one of the members of the South Shore Audubon Society. He runs a monthly book discussion group and often recommends books, videos and websites.
He recommended a Cornell University web site (https://explore.org/livecams/).
The site has all manner of birds and animals with live web cams. I usually keep mine at the Great Horned Owl and check this creature and her babies out every morning. The site was up but the screen was minimized. So when mama owl hooted, well, it sounded as if she were hooting outside our windows.
No live sighting, no great photograph to add to my wife’s portfolio, but one mystery solved.
Frank Scoblete’s latest books are I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps, Confessions of a Wayward Catholic and I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack. Available from Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.