We heard a different owl calling in the woods behind our home today at twilight, not the familiar sound of Barred Owls. It hooted softly, as a tiger might purr to itself, watching a herd of antelopes. It was the so-called Tiger of the Woods.
Great Horned Owls visit us in the fall but are never heard here in other seasons, although a pair nests in late winter only two miles away on Jamestown Island. They are our largest and most ferocious raptors. Although birds (including other owls), small mammals, and reptiles are their normal fare, they aren’t fussy about what they eat and will tackle prey larger than themselves. Bring your cats and small dogs indoors at night if you hear muted hooting after dark.
What a magnificent bird, such beautiful markings. The Australian equivalent is the Powerful Owl, a similar size and wingspan, preying on small animals such as possums and flying foxes (large fruit bats). I haven’t seen or heard one, though keep my eyes peeled in areas where they are known to roost.