5:30. A pair of barred owls exchange queries as the sky begins to brighten. A screech owl’s quaver. Sudden loud wingbeats in the meadow.
Breezy and overcast at dawn. From up in the woods, the declarative WHO! of a barred owl. The last katydid rattles to a stop.
Ten minutes before first light, the first distant, barking dog. Ten minutes before that, a barred owl’s cackle.
At dawn, that bright smudge in the clouds must be Venus, just above the trees. From the far end of the field, a single hoot: barred owl.
Out early, I listen to barred owls, watch the pulsing light of a glowworm crossing the walk like a satellite on an exceptionally low orbit.
A barred owl calls in the bright sun. Snow meltwater starts dripping onto the porch roof—a simple rhythm that grows increasingly complex.
Steady rain. Two drenched birders walk up the road, towels draped over their binoculars, and tell me they’d managed to flush a barred owl.