Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Singing of the Barred (pun intended)

I'm in one of those times in life when the Universe relentlessly throws distractions at me. I'm sure you have had weeks like these too, so you probably know what I'm talking about. Between ducking and dodging small disasters, checking cameras, copying casts, having friends in town, and dealing with the other random events that pop up more often than expected, I have had relatively little time to devote to my favorite hobby, bigfooting in the field.

However, last week I took a short trip to the Coast Range. I had a friend in town, and we found ourselves camping near the Nehalem River, inland from Manzanita, OR. No bigfoot activity was noticed, though coyotes and a couple barred owls made their vocal appearances. It always makes me laugh when barred owls respond to tree knocks. What a strange animal.

My truck on the Oregon Coast

I recommend all bigfoot researchers to become at least a little familiar with the wide variety of vocalizations that barred owls make. There are several recordings of supposed bigfoots floating around out there on the internet that are clearly barred owls. The most famous example is the "Ohio Scream" which was recorded by Matt Moneymaker back in the mid 1990's. Matt and I have discussed this and we are in agreement that it is a barred owl. (PLEASE NOTE that I did not say the "Ohio Howl", which is an entirely different recording, though it was recorded during the same general period. The Ohio Howl has been analyzed by bioacoustic experts, and has left them puzzled as to the source.) The fact that barred owls often respond to calls or knocks further complicates the matter. I have been fooled by them on more than one occasion.

The road we camped on

Here is a short video of barred owls showing their most common "who-who-cooks-for-you" vocalization. They also make high pitched screams, a weird "monkey chatter", a rising whistle-shriek, and a couple others strange noises. You can also click this link to hear a some sounds they make.

There were a couple other bigfooty things of note on this trip, but I'll save those for another blog. In the meantime, here's a tantalizing bit of foreshadowing:

My kind of place...

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