Moon Scene Hoots of Barred Owls at night. 20 May 2016, 11pm, Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area near Ithaca, New York. © Lang Elliott. Please play at a moderate to low volume for the most natural listening experience.

Direct link to MP3 if above player doesn’t work.

Everyone loves owls. On the night of May 20 with the moon nearly full, I drove to a nearby wildlife refuge in search of Gray Treefrogs. The frogs weren’t calling, but at one location I witnessed an amazing performance by what I presumed to be a “family” of Barred Owls. How lucky can you get?

Barred OwlFor minutes on end they hooted, sometimes just single individuals and at other times two or more sounding off in concert. While I generally want the owls to come closer for a more compelling recording, in this case I found the more distant hoots to be the most pleasurable because of how they echoed magically across the forested landscape.

I’m sure glad I stopped at that particular spot and was able to document all the hooting, with only Spring Peepers sounding off in the background (thank goodness a jet didn’t fly over in the middle of it all). This is among my favorites for its meditative effect.

Let me know what you think of this recording. Spring Peepers too loud? I can always lower them a tad, if you guys think it is the right thing to do.

NOTE: This recording has been edited to remove loud pings from my car (given as it cooled down) and to smooth out the volume of the spring peepers (I had to move three or four times to reduce the volume of the peepers, which was overwhelming at first). Although edited, the recording faithfully conveys the resonant hoots of the owls.

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