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Monday, February 4, 2013

Dawn sound, dusk silhouette

At dawn, we awoke to this sound echoing through the redwoods.  Do you recognize this species?  [If you can't see the sound file in the e-mail, click on the title of this post to go directly to the web page.]

2013.02.04 by nhbh

As we were driving home after work, we were talking about the animal we heard this morning, and were surprised to look up and see one sitting on a wire along the Bodega Highway (near the Freestone-Valley Ford Road).

The first view was a distant silhouette:

It was dusk, so these images are dim, but I think you'll be able to see enough detail to recognize this bird.

Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus) are classic "hoot owls."  Not all owls hoot, but this species is known for its distinctive series of low-pitched hoots that you hear in the recording.  They nest very early in the season, so it wouldn't be surprising if the hoots we heard this morning were related to defending a territory.

The "Horned" part of the Great Horned Owl's name is a bit misleading.  Although prominent, what appear to be horns are feathers (sometimes called ear-tufts).

Listen for Great Horned Owls during clear, still nights and mornings.

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