James A. Baggett

“Who Cooks for You?”

Outside at dusk last evening with my good dogs Scout and Finch, I could still find substantial piles of snow that had not yet been melted by our recent sunny skies and 50° F. temperatures. The branches of the neighborhood bur oaks stood out like dark skeletons against the fading sky. From a tree branch, a dark form glided silently away. All three of us stopped and looked and listened.

barredowl

Here in Iowa we’re in prime “owl prowl” season. Great-horned owls are soon-to-be or already sitting on their nests. But the much more common barred owls are about to start laying eggs right about now, at least the mature ones. Youngsters are still going through their initial courtship phase—much like local teens preening for the prom—defending their territories and delivering their rolling “Who cooks for you, who cooks for you-all?” call.

At least for a while now, the barred owls should answer your call—depending upon your vocal abilities to produce a reasonable facsimile of their distinctive call. You may even get the male to come closer to investigate the perceived intruder to his territory. Give it a try. You never know, someone might answer you.

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One Response to “ “Who Cooks for You?” ”

  1. Hi james, my son and i recently went to Mt Cuba, a local public garden that used to belong to a Dupont, to an event called Hunters of the Night. The man who ran it had a machine that sent out the sounds of animals in distress to draw predators out so we could see them. I saw an owl fly by but it was dark so I didn’t get a good look. He told us about their call”who cooks for you.” it is a great program , in the fall we sat in a duck blind to observe birds at 7am. The spring will be a herpetology walk and then pond studies.