Alert readers will recall that I was blathering on recently about Blakiston’s Fish Owls and their haunting, low-pitched, flute-like duets. There were some details about the haunting, low-pitched, flute-like duets that were still bugging me so I got in touch with Jon Slaght PhD. Dr. Slaght literally and figuratively wrote the book on these somewhat shaggy owls and their musical proclivities.
I was curious about the sequencing of the hooting so I put this question to him via email:
Some sites are saying that for the call, the male issues one note that is answered almost simultaneously by its mate and then the sequence repeats for the “answer”. I feel like the mate punches out two hoots, then the female answers those with her two hoots. What sayest thou?
In the aviation world, trying to avoid detection is called “flying under the radar”. We did this in school all the time when we didn’t have the faintest idea what the answer was, to the question the teacher had just posed to the class. We would basically sit there immobile, trying to look as nonchalant and inconspicuous as possible, hoping to be mistaken for a store mannequin or maybe a piece of furniture. Or maybe even a young woolly mammoth that was somehow flash-frozen by a super-hurricane like the ones in that cool (!) movie: The Day After Tomorrow.
Super-hurricanes aside, in a sublime moment of cosmic quirkiness, an ordinary housefly barreled fearlessly into the heart of the storm that was raging in the Vice Presidential debate the other night. The first thing I thought to myself was “Holy Kadoda! This is the Chuck Yeager of flies!” (Chuck was an iconic, fearless test-pilot profiled in that old astronaut movie: The Right Stuff.) Anyway, this fly bee-lined (!) directly for Mike Pence’s head. And stayed on it. For quite a long time.