I’m a complete scaredy cat, so there’s quite an array of nighttime noises that make me sit bolt upright when I’m in bed. Only a few catch my undivided attention in a good way, though. The quiet sounds sneaking through my window right now are of that good variety, the kind that has me rushing outside, or to open the nearest window and turn my ear out into the darkness.
There are several Great Horned Owls calling back and forth in the woods behind the apartments. One is close, perhaps in the treetops just beyond the next building. The others–at least one or two more, but maybe three–are spread far and wide throughout those woods. Their calls are nothing more than a muttering that I have to strain to catch.
When I moved into my summer housing, I noticed right away that the burnt-out lighting sconce by the entryway was stuffed full of debris–leaves, pine needles, twigs. I wondered if some bird had nested there, long ago. When I walked up to the house earlier this evening, though, a bird rocketed out of the alcove and right over my head.
Aha! Not an old nest, then, but a current one! I dragged a chair out to climb up and investigate, but the nest was too high for me to reach, even then. I went out to the porch to restrategize and found a visitor perched on the railing, watching me: a Carolina wren, with a bill full of nesting materials. Upon seeing a human blocking its path, it retreated hastily to a skinny tree opposite the gravel walkway, where it observed until it decided I wasn’t so scary after all and began working on the nest again.