TWO HOOTS

In which I learn about the curious nighttime calls of two owl species.

I have never before lived in a place where I hear owls so often as here. Mostly my knowledge of owls came from Winnie the Pooh, but I am learning now how important habitat like this valley is for them. The Tawny owls live up in the ancient beech woodlands above the village – much of it is National Trust at Standish and Randwick. When we walk up to the Throat at Ruscmobe at dusk we hear them warming up their voices in the woods. Then as a lie in bed I hear their  traditional ‘twit twoo’  hoots coming and going as they sweep across the valley searching for food, and I find their presence quite soothing and expected.

What I never realized before is that the Barn Owl has a different voice altogether.

Barn Owls  have a really eerie screechy sort of shriek which I find quite disturbing. I hear it over the field, I sense when they fly off away and come around the front and hang around the church and graveyard, quite disrupting the peace of the night. I truly don’t mind, although it does wake me up. I love fresh air and we sleep with windows flung open in all weathers. I feel privileged to share my space with them, and hope they have luck hunting for small mammals in my field. I do wonder where they live, as I have learned that  barn owls are hard pressed nowadays to find the holes for nesting in agricultural buildings which they like to use. Most of our Cotswold stone barns around here are ‘housified’ .

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Woodland Green – view at the Throat,  Ruscombe  – the woodland rising behind our village.

 

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Not a bonfire pile but but a habitat pile – for small mammals, snakes, insects.

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