[Tweeters] Spotted / Barred owl questions

Dea birdmandea at aol.com
Wed Aug 7 15:11:32 PDT 2013

Greetings to all. Several nights ago my wife and a were awaken by a strange noise. At it we thought it was coming from the attic. It's infrequency made it hard to locate. I stepped outside to see what the weather was like and was startled by the noise. It was some type of owl. I have seen and heard both Great Horned and Barred Owls in our yard for years now but I did not recognize this sound.
I grabbed my I Pad and opened my "I Bird plus 6.1" program and pulled up the Owls. My wife and I listened to a few of the usual suspects and found no match. Then I started on the owls that I would wish for and to our surprise the recording of the female spotted owl " contact whistle" was a match. I stepped back outside and heard two different owls exchanging the same call. One was about thirty yards from the house and the second bird about a hundred yards beyond. The second owl was deeper in the housing area and lower in elevation.
We live near the boundary of Steilacoom, a park and North Ft. Lewis about 280 above sea level. I am aware of all of the controversy about Barred Owls and Spotted Owls and the possibility of culling the Barred. Predation, distribution and inter breeding stories are confusing enough and Spotted Owls were always an elusive bird found out in the pristine wilderness not in the neighbor's Dogwood. But now I have them here and strain every night to hear or see them. No luck.
I guess my question are how common is it for spotted owls to be in an urban area with a known population of barred owls? Can they coexist or were the spotted owls just moving through?

Take care,
Dea Just

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