The owl is a most mysterious creature. They haunt the night and retire with the dawn. Owls are fierce unforgiving predators. Their social structure and habits are complex. No other bird song I can think of is as easy to identify as the hoot of an owl.
The recording, Voices of the Swamp by Lange Elliott and Ted Mack is one way to hear their nighttime serenade. The CD features several owl serenades:
“Owl Prelude (Ocala National Forest, Florida)
It is dusk among the pines. A Barred Owl hoots and an immature owl answers with harsh, screeching notes. A Chuck-will’s-widow sings incessantly. Pig Frogs croak. Insects chirp and trill. Another owl lands nearby and the two greet one another with an outburst of monkeylike calls.
Barred Owl Reunion (Ocala NF, Florida)
Night unfolds. We rest in forest near a small stream. Crickets trill and we delight in the sweet chirping notes of Greenhouse Frogs, calling from shrubs. A Barred Owl hoots loudly from above. Later, it flies to a different perch to meet another owl, and the two hoot excitedly in vocal reunion.
Owl Farewell (Ocala NF, Florida)
We awaken at dusk and walk once again into the dark, swampland forest. Crickets trill. Chuck-will’s-widows sing, and Greenhouse Frogs chirp. A Barred Owl lands and hoots loudly, as if to bid us adieu. “
This recording is now titled Swamp Song and can be purchased from The Music of Nature: One Earth Many Voices Lang Elliott