Had a great night last night...
I've been trying to figure out who's been hissing in the woods around my house in Moretown for about 2 weeks. A shreeky hissing "hzeeeee-zhup" , ascending and ending abruptly in the "zhup". So last night at about dusk it started and I went out to look. Tried pshing with no luck. As I walked through the woods I discovered there were 3 individuals calling...definitely not mammals...and they were hanging out just off the edge of the dirt road up and over to Northfield.
Ran back to the house...grabbed somewhat useless binocs and headed down the road. Caught a glimpse of one individual flying back into the woods from the edge of the road; large but too dark to be sure. Could hear all three very close but my binocs were of no use because of the encroaching dark. So I'm standing there in the middle of the road and figure maybe a barred owl call will bring them in...so I call...and then they really started in, to the point where it was loud, intense & the hairs went up on my arms. I got out of the middle of the road and propped myself up under a hemlock and called again. Once again, intense response and then 2, what I know think are juvenile barred owls, came out to the edge of the road. One swooped right over me!
I've had great experiences before calling adult barred owls into my yard at night but had never heard the shreeking of the young. I stopped after seeing them, figured if they were waiting for food from an adult...I'd be labelled an owl-tease in the forest and they'd never come back!! Later around 11pm they had worked their way back into my yard and I heard the typical barred owl call down the road...the real thing...hopefully with some yummy treat to split 3 ways!
Cheers all & happy birding!