Usually we get Great Horned Owls in our garden, slow and mournful and resonant, but last night I heard a newcomer with a call like a rubber ball dropped down a flight of stairs.
It’s a Western Screech Owl!
This audio recording is from April 4th, 2020. It was captured 130 miles from here in the San Gabriel Mountains by Lance A. M. Benner, a Principal Scientist at NASA JPL, and uploaded to the miracle that is Xeno-canto. If you haven’t come across that site name before…well. It’s a community-driven database of bird calls from around the globe, but that description doesn’t really capture its magnificence. The site’s been around since 2005, and the breadth and quality of the recording collection is staggering. You can look for absolutely anything there, and a great deal of it is licensed under Creative Commons.
Benner has contributed 1,926 recordings to the site.
Isn’t it wild that people just do stuff like this?
The most famous Western Screech Owl in my internet circles right now is probably Coconut the Owl, who took up residence in Austin Kleon’s backyard earlier in the Pandemic and recently received a new abode:
Also apropos of nothing I followed some links about Benner out of idle curiosity and found myself listening to a few of his owl-specific recordings on Owl Pages Dot Com, a site devoted to…well, you know.
This concludes the evening dispatch of Owl News.