Sunday, March 4, 2012
I am a light sleeper. A few weeks ago, I awoke at 2:00 a.m. to the unmistakable sound of an owl. Soon there were two: one with a lower pitched voice than the other. They called to each other for an hour, and my husband and I contentedly listened.
Then we began the inquiry process. What kind of owls had we heard? We started at the DNR website to determine which species were commonly found in our area. From the Nature tab to Animals to Birds (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/birds/index.html), we found a list and read about each one. The Barred Owl lives in our area, but "our" owls did not wail and screech. Great Gray Owls live north of us. Great Horned Owls live in our range. We hoped it would be them we had heard.
Next we wanted to compare the sounds we heard with recorded owl calls (http://www.owlpages.com/sounds.php). They were definitely Great Horned Owls!
And they have come back many nights to converse in the trees in the backyards of our neighborhood. One magical night, they began at 9:15, and our sons even joined us on the deck to listen in amazement.
When I shared this story with third graders in the midst of an inquiry project, they chose to follow the same route of discover that we did!