I’ve been recording audio overnight from the deck here in Essex since August 26 of this year when I purchased a recorder capable of recording all night, a Sound Devices MixPre-6 & Audio-technica BP4025 stereo mic. I start recording around 10pm and generally turn it off at 6am, starting earlier isn’t really an option with all of the traffic noise. This setup will make a Blue Jay calling 500′ away sound like it’s in the yard. I live in a commercial / residential neighborhood with a few good sized lakes close by, a few wet / swampy areas and lots of woods.

As we all know there are owls everywhere (well… almost) and apparently around my house in no exception.

Prior to starting this little project I’d occasionally hear a Screech / Barred or Great Horned once or twice a year at most. Now a month and a half later I’m finding the Barred Owls call almost any night it’s not raining or windy, rain seems to keep all critters tucked away making for a very quiet night. The Owls may still call on windy nights but I can’t hear it if they do over the wind / leaf noise.

I’ve also learned that all three Owls may call together having recorded a Screech calling with a Barred and a Great Horned chiming in, something I was fairly certain wouldn’t happen to keep the smaller Owls from becoming a meal.

Here’s a list of the Owls and the dates I’ve recorded them starting on August 26, 2017. I try to record every night barring heavy rain, extremely low temps and high winds.

2017

Barred Owl:

August 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31

September 2, 3, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17, 18, 19, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30,

October 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 27, 28, 29

November 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 26, 30

December 02, 03, 04, 05, 07, 12, 15

Great Horned Owl

August 26

September 24

October 3, 9, 15

November 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 15, 20, 23, 26, 27, 30

December 02, 03, 04, 05, 07, 08, 10, 11, 16

Screech Owl

August 26, 29

September 19, 24

October 1, 2, 3, 11, 16, 19, 28, 29

November 1, 4, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 22

December 09, 12

Saw-whet Owl

September 9

October 13, 17

2017 ended with my visiting Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary outside of Naples, FL the week before Xmas and then many days and nights with single digit temps and high winds. 2018 started out the same way with the night of January 4th the 1st night worth trying to record. It’s 5 degrees out as I type this on the 6th, we’ll have to wait and see how 2018 progresses for Owls calling in the neighborhood.

2018

Barred Owl:

January 10, 11, 21, 22

February 9, 12, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28

March 01, 06, 12, 26, 27, 28, 29

April 02, 08, 09, 10, 11, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30

May 01, 02, 03, 06 – vacation 5/06 – 5/19 -, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31

June 02, 03, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 22, 24, 26

July 08, 12, 14, 28, 30

August 01, 05, 06, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26

September 01, 02, 03, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30

October 01, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29, 31

November 01, 02, 04, 05, 06, 08, 09, 12, 17, 20, 30

December 01, 03, 04, 06, 09, 10, 11, 14, 15, 20, 23, 29, 30

Great Horned Owl

January 4, 17, 22, 29

February 5, 6, 9, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27

March 01, 09, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31

April 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 17, 19, 21, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30

May 01, 06 – vacation 5/06 – 5/19 -, 22, 23, 24, 26, 29, 31

June 02, 03, 06, 10, 18, 24, 26, 27

July 07, 19, 26, 30, 31

August 04, 16, 17, 26, 27, 28, 31

September 01, 08, 14, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 29, 30

October 01, 06, 07, 13, 14, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 30, 31

November 01, 04, 05, 09, 11, 12, 15, 28,30

December 01, 09, 20, 25

Screech Owl

January 4, 17

February 23

May 25 (perched in the yard 10:10pm)

June 02 (perched in yard 9:20pm)

June 06 (perched on deck 10:05pm)

July 19

August 24

September 01, 10, 21, 23, 29

October 04, 13, 17, 18, 19, 23, 26, 27

November 19 (roosting in owl box 4:30pm), 21, 22 (roosting in owl box 5pm), 29 (roosting in owl box 4:30pm)

December 04 (roosting in owl box 6:30am), 05 (roosting in owl box 6:30am), 07 (roosting in owk box 6:30am), 08 (roosting in owl box 6:30am), 09 (roosting in owl box 6:30am), 10 (roosting in owl box 6:30am), 16, 17, 18, 19, 30 (roosting in owl box 4:45pm)

Saw-whet Owl

November 05

December 28

2019

Barred Owl:

January 04, 09, 19, 23

February 05, 23, 24

March 09, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31

April 01, 02, 04, 05, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29

May 01, 03, 05, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30

June 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 07, 09, 10, 12, 16, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28

July 03, 08, 10, 11, 14, 16, 19, 26, 28

August 05, 07, 09, 10, 11, 12, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30

September 01, 02, 03, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

October 01, 02, 05, 06, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27

November 02, 03, 04, 05, 07, 17

Great Horned Owl

January 06, 13, 14, 16, 18, 19, 23, 26

February 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 10, 20, 22, 23, 27

March 01, 02, 03, 07, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30

April 01, 02, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 18, 22, 25, 28, 29

May 01, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 19

June 04, 07, 15, 29

July 01, 04, 05, 16, 24, 25

August 02, 05, 10, 11, 21, 23, 25, 26, 27, 30, 31

September 01, 05, 06, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

October 01, 02, 05, 06, 08, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 27, 29

November 02, 03, 04, 05 07, 09, 10, 11, 15

Screech Owl

January 09 (roosting in owl box 4pm), 10 (roosting in owl box 6:45am), 11 (roosting in owl box 6:45am), 12 (roosting in owl box 6:45am), 15 (roosting in owl box 6:45am), 20 (roosting in owl box 6:45am), 21 (roosting in owl box 6:45am), 23 (roosting in owl box 6:45am)

April 22

June 01

August 12, 19, 21, 25, 27

September 02, 03, 06, 26, 28

October 06, 07, 09, 13, 14, 16, 19, 20, 25, 27

November 03, 07, 15, 16 (roosting in owl box 4:40pm)

Also heard:

Great Blue Heron

October 10 – calling at 4:15am
October 11 – calling at 3am

Loads of other birds and critters as well with Coyotes calling at least a few times each week, foxes barking occasionally and a Cooper’s Hawk “keking” at sunrise almost every morning until today, they nested across the street from the house again this year.

This has been a very interesting little project with morning coffee time now being spent scanning the files from the prior night which takes 45 minutes or so using Adobe Audition to view the spectogram where I can “see” the owl / critter calls and skip over the vehicle / plane noise & quiet sections.

Here are some of the better (closer to the house) recordings from the last month and a half. Most of the Barred Owl recordings are quite distant but readily recognizable.

I plan to continue this project into the winter months, it’s been an eye opener to hear what’s out there most nights!

The night of October 13, 2017 was exceptionally quiet with zero wind allowing the mics to pick up the Owls calling around the yard through most of the night with 2 adult and 2 begging young Barred Owls calling off and on. Here’s one of the closer calls.

Sunrise on the morning of October 14, 2017 found the local Cooper’s Hawk calling along with a Winter Wrens chatterings.

Roosting in one of the nest boxes at 7:30am on 10/19/17. I wonder if this is the Owl that appears to have taken a mouse near the microphone last night?

A Screech Owl spent the day in one of the nest boxes in the yard. It’s been quite a while since one has done this nudging me to put the camera in front of the box for a bit of video. Gotta love a cooperative Owl!!