Great Horned Owl, Secluded Farm trail

Great horned owl, Bubo virginianus

On a Christmas evening stroll with Norah, in a deep woods getting wrapped with snow, we heard an owl. The forest gifted dazzling detail: a myriad of tiny glittering windows skyward, and black oak leaves silhouetted beneath our feet. The silence offered another sort of detail; a subtle hiss as ice crystals met millions of obstructions. Out of this icy whisper came a deep and rounded “hoo hoohoo…hoo hoo”.

The time was 5:30pm, darkness was upon us. We were on the seasonal pond loop trail at Secluded Farm. We had just stepped out into the middle of a waterless pond, when the owl’s call stopped us in our tracks. We hooted back and forth a few times (Norah’s call was better than mine), and the bird came a bit closer. We were not afforded a glimpse of the large bird, but we were both very excited to hear this big predator so close to town! With the recent confirmed sightings of bobcats and bear (tracks) on Carter’s Mountain, it is clear that this large forested tract of land supports a web of life that is exceptional.