Nights with a Little Owl

When I stay with my children in London, in Barcelona and in Bolton, come bedtime the streets are as silent as a monastery.  Though to be fair, in London we can sometimes hear the foxes in their lairs near the railway line yelping like very cross babies.

I live at the edge of a village some distance from Ripon.  That’s usually a pretty silent place to sleep too.  But for the last few nights I’ve been woken at about 3.00 o’clock by this…..

It’s a Little Owl.  He (she?) is extremely persistent.  He sits on the roof, I think, and keeps up a constant calling: sometimes measured, sometimes more agitated.  The other night, after an hour or more I fell asleep again.  Little Owl didn’t.

I’ve never seen him.  It’s not surprising.  He’s probably only about 22cm. long, and weighs in at perhaps 180 grams.  The farmland which surrounds us will suit him very well, supplying insects and small mammals.  He’s probably breeding now.  I wonder if he’s found a place in the old barn which is currently home to a young family of rather messy blackbirds?

This species was only introduced here at the end of the 19th century, though his kind are widespread throughout Europe Asia and North Africa.  Despite his being a noisy blighter, he’s very welcome here.

I have no photos of my own.  Enjoy these images from contributors to the Unsplash collection.

This is my contribution to the Ragtag Challenge: Night.

Click on any image to view full size.

35 thoughts on “Nights with a Little Owl”

  1. One of the first things I notice in my sweetheart’s garden in Mississippi are the sounds – birds, frogs, lizards, cicadas etc. My sweetheart knows when a hummingbird is near because of the fast, chittering sound it makes. At first the drawn out hoots of far away trains would wake me every night and I wondered how people nearer the tracks managed. Now I sleep through them.

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  2. That’s a shrill voice, but it is amazing how we can adapt to various sounds. I live in the woods in Maine, and when I visit my daughter in Brooklyn, New York, the noise of the traffic keeps me awake the first night. By the second and third night, I have gotten used to it. Glad you don’t mind having that noisy little creature around.

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  3. Margaret, happy Saturday. I am visiting with my step-mom in Mississippi. When I think of you, I think of her and vice versa. She’s a birder and naturalist and sees things I don’t see. I love your description of your owl… he or she is looking and hooting and we hear. I love the sounds of nature it’s calming and comforting to know that when I am no longer their sounds will be. Have a wonderful day.

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  4. I saw our Robin singing, high above my head on the end of the apple tree branch. I often hear the robin and see him, but to actually see him sing, see his little chest moving and his throat quivering… I am always amazed how such a little creature can make such sweet music and sing so strongly…

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  5. It must be owl season–I just read another post about an owl in the ‘hood! The noise that keeps me awake is the neighbors’ dogs barking. I like dogs but . . . oy, the barking in the middle of the night!

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  6. I used to hear owls whilst living in Harrogate but have never heard one here. I’ve seen barn owls here though, near the Henge.
    We had a hedgehog in the garden yesterday evening! That’s a first for us – delighted to see it.

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    1. Oh brilliant about the hedgehog. We had one for weeks last year who was a wanderer then suddenly disappeared. We fear the worst. We see barn owls when driving in the event, but little owls are common here – by sound but not by sight.

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  7. Yes it is hard to believe, but looking again at some of the photos it does have incredibly strong legs and talons for its size. Even tiny predators are still predators I guess!

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  8. When I saw the video photo, I thought you’d heard an evening of gentle, fairytale too-wit too-woos and was quite envious until I pressed play. It’s lovely to have nature on your doorstep, or roof, but that’s quite a piercing sound especially for 3.00 am.

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  9. We used to have little owls as neighbours at a former house of ours but they aren’t here. What we do have are baby tawny owls that call every few seconds throughout the night. I rather like them!

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  10. Ahhhhh…the little owl, small in size but with a large voice, n’est-ce pas? Here we have loads of them, but I guess I have just got used to them now, along with all the other nocturnal sounds. Whoever said the countryside was quiet at night doesn’t know what they are on about…however, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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