I think it started about a week ago — just after dusk we started to hear shrill calls in the courtyard outside of our building. They were coming from a pair of creatures (I wasn’t sure what kind) either in the trees or on the roof. It was a plaintive sound — kind of like kittens looking for their mother, but too loud, too airborne and not feline enough for that. It went on for hours with them calling back and forth, perfect echoes of each other.
At first, I was worried about the creatures — there was definitely a sad or lost sound to their cries. Had a baby something fallen from a nest? Was something injured? It went on for hours, and it kept us up (because of course we have the windows open for the breeze). When we finally fell asleep, both Dan & I had nightmares — parental nightmares about something happening to the kids — that we think were probably inspired by the sad cries of our new nocturnal neighbor creatures.
They are quiet through the day, but each evening they come back, calling and answering shrilly outside our windows. I’ve already gotten used to them — I can sleep through their noise without a problem now — but I still didn’t know what they were. Being nocturnal, loud, and either in the trees or on the roof, I’ve been guessing owls, but they certainly don’t sound “hoot”-y at all.
Then, last night, one landed on the eave of the roof over our living room. I thought they were loud before, but this was alarming — I thought it had gotten in the house! Apparently, so did Bailey, who, after ignoring them for a week, absolutely freaked out, as though someone was trying to break down the front door.
After subduing my fierce canine to the best of my ability, I went to investigate (the creature was apparently not impressed by Bailey, because it neither moved not ceased its calling) and got my first look. I only saw it in shadow, perched on the roof, but I’m pretty sure it was an owl. It looked at me for a minute before I shooed it away (because Bailey wasn’t going to settle down while it was sitting outside our window, and I didn’t want it to wake the kids). I saw it take off and fly to the other side of the courtyard. It was bigger in flight than I expected, and it was pretty beautiful. And after doing some research online, I’m guessing we have a pair of Barn Owls living near us now (although the ones we have are slightly more “crying” and less “screeching” than the ones I found online, so I’m not entirely sure).
So, we have new, noisy, nighttime neighbors. I think they’re owls. I know they’re not worried about Bailey. And though they kind of drove me crazy that first night, I kind of hope they stick around.