|Lesser sooty owl|
Three species of owl live in this patch of rainforest.
Barking owls (Ninox connivens) —named for their calls and possibly their demeanour — sound like a small terrier that is stuck up a tree, but is not especially distressed by its predicament. The two syllable woof woof is so pooch-like that it sets off the local dogs. If you need to find out how many hounds are in your neighbourhood, get a barking owl.
Southern boobooks* (Ninox novaeseelandiae) are the most abundant owls in Australia. When I lived in Townsville, I saw them regularly, but I have yet to spot one at this place. I hear them all the time. Like barking owls, they have a two syllable call. Unlike barking owls, their call is quite restful. Not that I’d make a sleep tape of boobook calls, but there are worse sounds in the rainforest.
Which brings us to the species that I’m most likely to see at this place — the lesser sooty owl (Tyto multipunctatus). Beautiful plumage, the lesser sooty owl, but a call like a falling bomb or a hideous scream, depending on distance. For the past few months, the owls have been hanging around the house. I think they are making the most of the cicadas and beetles attracted to the lights. Several times, they’ve flown past and given me a heck of a surprise. Even the microbats make more noise when they zip by.
|How cute is that?|
|There's your answer|
*If you’re unfamiliar with the boobook in its natural surroundings, you might know it from its unnatural ones — perched on the heraldic crest of Ankh Morpork** or Sir Terry Pratchett's coat of arms.
**An alternative common name for this owl is morepork***, derived from the transliteration of its call.
***And mopoke. To make matters more confusing, that name is also applied to the tawny frogmouth**** (Warning: Link contains photos of darling baby frogmouths)
****Which isn’t an owl*****.
*****And doesn’t even make a similar call******
******Stoopid common names.