Hi Tim -- this email to you was meant to be sent just after New Year's and got stuck in my out box - sorry!
THANK YOU!!! I've been hearing the first sound on your first recording many times in recent months and simply could not figure out what it was. I'd suspected saw-whets but it didn't match Cornell's recordings so I was still looking. I'd even discussed them with our Nature Center director and was going to try to get a recording, but they are infrequent. But that is JUST what I've been hearing!!!
And, best of all, it was my first bird of the year, before dawn on New Year's Day. Terrific start to the year.
This year really has been exceptional in terms of local density of Northern Saw-whet Owls. The influx of these birds has allowed me to spend a fair bit of time listening to them in the field, and the variety of sounds they make is really astonishing. Some of the noises they make sound like anything but a bird. I also found, much to my chagrin, that I'd heard some of these sounds before in the field and did not even recognize them as birds!
Below are links to some rather "interesting" sounds I've recorded this year.