Lots of folks say that owls fly so silently that their prey cannot hear them coming. Well, this may be true when they’re hunting, but on a quiet night, when an owl flies to a perch nearby, one can certainly hear the sounds of its wings.
The date is May 1, 1993. I am at Delta Marsh along the south shore of Lake Manitoba. It is the middle of the night and countless Wood Frogs cackle from a nearby marsh. I’ve placed my soundscape microphone in a forested patch near a Great Horned Owl nest, in hopes of getting some nice hoots. Just before midnight, an owl sounds off from about a hundred feet away. Then my attention goes to the subtle sounds of something moving around in the leaves, maybe a deer mouse or some other small mammal …
Hoots of a Great Horned Owl and snorts of a White-tailed Deer, 11:45pm, 1 May 1993, Delta Marsh, along the south shore of Lake Manitoba. Recording by Lang Elliott.
Holy smoke! That “little” mammal turned out to be one heck of a “BIG” mammal, a White-tailed Deer, who snorted and bounded away into the woods! I am amazed that he made so little noise as he approached. And how about the wing noise made by the Great Horned Owl, both as he flew in close and then flew away about a minute later? Pretty impressive, huh?
Note: As you may have noticed, as of late I’ve moved away from posting “easy listening” recordings in favor of recordings that portray significant sound events. They are still soundscapes, for sure, but more of the engaging type. I’m curious what you think of these recordings. Do you find them satisfying? Would you like to hear long samples, or should I strive to keep these kinds of recordings rather brief, on the order of two to four minutes in length? Let me know what you think!