More Owl Noises

One of the most amazing things I enjoy about our move to Austin, Texas are some of the new animals and their noises that we encounter on a nearly continual basis.

And tonight didn’t disappoint. As I was sitting home working on a project, I heard an owl hooting outside. It was loud enough to break my concentration, so I grabbed my phone, and got my recording app ( Voice Record ) ready to record.

I went outside, and recorded 4 minutes worth of owls hooting. At first it was just one, but as I walked across the street to the tree it was perched in, you can clearly hear more than one owl hooting. They would pause very predictably and hoot again.

I recorded about 4 minutes worth, but they continued for quite a while there after, and even heard them as I was typing this up, about an hour later.

I’m not an owl expert, so I’m not sure of what owl it is for sure, but there are many owls in Texas, so it could be one of several. I know that it’s not a screech owl, because the screech owl makes a very distinctive horse noise that I captured in a post a few weeks ago.

Regardless, I hope you enjoy the sounds of beauty.

Neighborhood “Screech” Identified and Recorded

As many of you may remember, I used to live in a neighborhood in Colorado with peacocks roaming around from an old farmhouse.

These peacocks have a scary sounding noise at 3am that sounds like a woman getting murdered, and is the most terrifying method of waking up I can imagine. I never did figure out how to sleep through it, I just adjusted my sleep schedule to never sleep.

So when my wife and I heard a strange noise here in Texas ( our first thoughts were children being accosted ), we were a bit unnerved. I searched the house, went out front, went out back, and all was silent. The AC had just turned off, so we thought maybe we were hearing some harmonic coming from the motor.

All was good until… I heard it at 3am, but this time, I heard it clearly ( because there were no other noises in the house ), and I knew for sure what it was

Have a listen:

If you’ve never heard this before, you’d never believe me that it’s a Screech Owl... and in this recording, you can hear several of them talking back and forth.

I can identify that one of them was in our tree right outside the door, and the other I think was in the neighbors tree.

Yes, it sounds like we’re on a horse farm, but that’s the tell-tale sign of a Screech Owl, and I feel fortunate that I they gave me 30 seconds of their time to record it before they flew off into the distance.

Enjoy the sounds 🙂

Should-a, Could-a, Would-a

Banana Cream Pie

It seems that all through my childhood, my siblings and I would ask questions that start with “Can I.. ” and we’d be corrected to ask “May I .. ”

So  the other night, our daughter did it… she asked “Can I have some more dinner?”.  

And so our dinner table conversation turned into a Socratic discussion – not an uncommon event in our household. We embrace the idea of using real world experiences and turning them into talking points from which our children can learn.

So through various navigational aides, we guided the conversation to help them understand the difference between ‘can‘ and ‘may‘.

We helped them understand that ‘can’ has to do with ones ability to do something. “Can I jump up and down?”  You either can or you can’t – it’s ability driven.

While the word ‘may’ implies that you are asking for permission. “May I have a piece of cake?” It’s asking for permission to have a piece, and says nothing about your ability to get the cake.

So we took this “Can I… “ and “May I… “ conversation a step further, and related it to the words, ‘would‘ and ‘could‘.

The kids actually startled me that they were able to see the connection right away – that ‘could‘ relates to ability, and ‘would‘ relates to permission. The correlation isn’t always a direct correlation, but served our conversation fairly well, so that we could see that questions like “Could she eat all that pie?‘ is ability driven, while “Would she like to eat all the pie?” is permission driven.

And through this, we highlighted a very important step that extends upon the idea of ability and permission, and amounts to a very important question that we all ask ourselves each and every time we are deciding to do something, and that is “Should I…?

Should‘ is a very important reflection that makes us self-analyze the decisions we make, and forces us as logical creatures to make decisions on whether or not the decision is right for us.

For instance, if you have a banana cream pie, and you see your dad sitting in the chair snoring, you could have your mom’s permission, and you certainly have the ability, but the real question you have to think about is, are there going to be consequences?

So we may have the ability , and we may even have permission to do something… but the real question is, should we be doing this?

The kids enjoyed the lesson, and it ultimately helped them understand the difference between the two questions, and as a bonus, realized that there’s a third question to consider.  Maybe this will help you with talking points with your kids, or at least understand the difference better yourself  🙂


Carolina Wren

Finally, after 2 months of searching for this beautiful song bird in our new home in Texas, we found it. We were expecting something a bit larger and gaudy, but it turns out that this humble looking wren is the noisiest bird in the neighborhood.

My wife and I spent a lot of time going through recordings, looking at birds while they were singing, and could never find it. We finally got a glimpse a few weeks ago, but could only tell that it was a smaller bird, which narrowed down our search field.

Well today, I caught one serenading his mate on the fence, and was able to get a few low quality images that gave me enough clues that I could track it down.

So this wonderful bird is the Carolina Wren, and is loud enough that it’s beautiful song penetrates deep into the house every morning to let you know the day has begun. And a step outside into his territory let’s you know that every other bird is alive and well too.

Problem solved, now let’s see what other new critters we can identify 🙂

Another Theme Update

wordpress addiction

As many of you know, I’m a self described WordPress addict.  I preach it, I live it, I love it! And with that comes the constant need for trying new plugins and themes, just to see what’s new and interesting.

And this week is no different. I’ve changed themes again.

This time, it’s to fit a whole new concept for this blog.  It will no longer focus on technology, but rather, is going to be an personal blog that I can post family pictures on.

It seems that family wants to see more pictures, and I really want better control of the layout, so I decided that this is the best place to do that.

I’ll still post a link to my Facebook profile, but I really like the idea of having more control, and the ability to “change it up” from time to time.

So I’m using the free theme from the repository called Ryu, and it was really close to what I was looking for… it’s not perfect, and I still have my out out for the update to the Manifest theme I was using previously, but he’s a bit behind on delivering… I really wish he’d drop the code in GitHub for others to clone & fork…

Anyhow, let me know your thoughts, and if it’s got any quirks or bugs I didn’t see.  I didn’t test the contact form or comments yet, so they could be broken, but I doubt it… feel free to check em out for me 😉