Owl in the City

About 8 weeks ago I was laying in bed, my window open, thinking dismal thoughts when I heard an owl outside my window. I froze, attentive, all focused on the sound. It came again and I thought: Am I imagining it?

I live in an urban environment, houses side by side, a variety of nearby retail stores, and off one of the busiest street in my city. When we moved here, the area was still transitioning from open farmers fields to city housing – and we saw Red Tailed Hawks often – an open field hawk common to my plains State.

As the houses and buildings multiplied, the aerial hunters changed to the neighborhood raptor: Cooper Hawk. These wood-loving Hawks have adapted to urban living making neighborhood bird feeders their own personal buffet.  Coopers are adept at using human structures – such as fences and buildings – to stealth approach their prey – and like raccoons, opossums, skunks and coyotes have adapted to man’s presence.

However, you can imagine my surprise and doubt that I might have heard an Owl outside my window, in the early hours after sunrise. I was so doubtful about the encounter I didn’t even record it here in my blog.


One reason we bought this house was that the backyard runs along a Greenbelt  – this is a designated area that is to be left undisturbed in order to aid water flow (apparently so much construction was done at one point, the town had bad flooding problems and this was put into place by the city/county government).

Our Greenbelt has a water way with a mix of evergreen pines and deciduous trees planted by the builder. Unfortunately, many of these have been damaged by several ice storms. There is a concrete spillway for water and it is probably why we had our Raccoon visit. The channel is probably why the Coopers have visited and I have also seen plenty of birds, such as my noisy, nosy friend the Nuthatch, and the Downy Woodpecker.

Last night, I was in the family room which is at the back of our house. One large window was opened and I head the deep HOO-HOO-HOO!! I was of course WOW!!! I brought in our two Corgis waiting at the door and who thankfully, had not tempted my visitor to a snack and slipped outside.


I tried to become calm and grounded myself. I had a feeling of being surrounded by the dark and being high up in a tree. I was pretty sure that Owl was up in the top of a group of pine trees, right behind the SW corner of the yard.  After a few more HOO-HOO, I thought I heard an answering and fainter call way down to the SE of the greenbelt.

I slipped back inside and called out to Grenwinae. We both went outside to hear more HOO-HOO with the calls in the SE getting more noticeable.

In a moment Owl took off and flew silently across a break of trees showing open sky to travel down the Greenbelt to the other caller. AMAZING!

I will post later on why Owls are significant to me and why hearing him then was so important. From the sound, I’m pretty sure it was a Great Horned Owl.


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