What is That Noise?

     As I lay in my bed half-asleep with the window open I hear a sound like a truck makes when it’s backing up.  A beep, beep type of noise that maybe sounds more like a smoke alarm’s battery beeping to signal the battery is dying.  It is quite constant and loud and I think maybe it could be someone’s house or car alarm going off.  In my dreamlike state I think maybe it’s actually my alarm going off or the phone ringing so I rouse myself awake.

     Then I hear the noise again and I remember I happen to hear that noise every year around the same time.  It’s the sound of a saw-whet owl. 

"While they’re usually silent, the owls get their name from their call (a flutelike single note "toot-toot"), which sounds like a saw being whetted or sharpened. The saw-whet owl only makes its call during mating season, from March to May, and its call may last for hours at a time." JIM OLICHWIER – Pioneer Press

     You can hear what the saw-whet owl sounds like by visiting this website and scrolling to the call audio bar. Let me know what you think it sounds like.

boundary waters saw-whet owl

During the day, A. acadicus roosts silently in dense areas of the forest. It is active at night and often has a curious nature. In the spring, these owls engage in a lengthy courtship before mating. The Northern Saw-Whet male sings a territorial song around April. When a female becomes attracted to the male’s song, the male flies in circles above her head while continuing to call, then lands and performs a series of bobbing and shuffling as he nears her. He may also have a mouse, which he offers to her. Because these owls are migratory and often do not stay in one place, pairs that form are usually not permanent. Because of their small size, Northern Saw-Whet Owls are preyed upon by larger owls, martens (Martes americana), Cooper’s Hawks (Accipiter cooperii), and Northern Goshawks (Accipiter gentilis). When A. acadicus feels threatened, it elongates its body to make itself look like a branch or a bump.