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28 May 2012

The haunted castle

An ancient, ruined castle in the middle of the night can be an eerie place to be, and not somewhere to venture if you are easily spooked. In the early hours of yesterday morning, a variety of screeches, chuckles, snores and faint wingbeats emanating from this castle would have tested the mettle of even the bravest.

Have a listen to the audio, recorded last night from within the castle…

Sounds in the castle, 2am., 27th May (M.O'Clery).

Don't run screaming from the castle just yet… these are Barn Owl noises… After a period of quiet 'snoring' from the nest by the female, the male arrived. Snoring in Barn Owls is an enticement to feed and is made by the female and/or young. Squeaks and purring noises were heard as the male delivered a prey item to her and they mated and, after a while (which is where we join them on the audio clip), she resumed her snoring, encouraging the male to leave to hunt for more food. He gave a full-blooded, territorial screech, and headed off once more into the night, while the  female resumed the quiet snoring noises again. 

The only visual clue was a faint silhouette of the male arriving at and leaving the nest area, but from the sounds it is possible to interpret their behavior and deduce that the female is still on eggs. Far from being the wailing of lost souls, the sounds emanating from the castle last night gave us a great insight into the breeding status of this pair of Barn Owls.