Juvenile Northern-saw-whet owl (Aegolius acadicus) begging call Sierra Foothills
July 18, 2007, six minutes to three in the Sierra foothills East of Nevada City, CA, looking for owls. The moon had set hours before, but one could see fairly well by starlight. I was exploring an area by car and stopping every .2 miles to get out and listen for a while. Fairly often just the dinging of the key in the ignition alarm when opening the door to get out will set off owls in an area. At this location I listened for a while and while walking up the road started hearing this odd repetitive hissing noise coming from low out of thick cover ahead. Not having a clue of what was the cause, I started recording. During recording I heard a bird moving, so figured this was a bird of some kind. The regularity and quality of the sound reminded me of an air cylinder cycling. Thinking about this on the way home it hit me that it also sounded somewhat like someone sharpening a knife on a stone. Saw-whet owl came to mind, as one of their calls supposedly reminds somewhat of sharpening a saw. I have yet to hear it anywhere, including the internet. I sent a snippet of the file to Bruce Webb, a local owl expert, and was told that what I had recorded was a juvenile Northern saw-whet owl begging for food.
The sound at 26.5 sec is the bird moving in the thick cover.Published on February 13, 2009 · Filed under: OWLS; Tagged as: Bruce Webb owl expert, juvenile northern saw-whet owl hissing begging call