January 21, 2013 posted by littlewhitecottage

50 Things to do before you’re 11 and ¾’s Part 2 ‘Calling an Owl’ – So How Did We Do?

Owl huntersWhen I told the boys what we were going to be doing this week they were a little surprised. The idea of standing outside hooting at an owl to see if it would hoot back tickled their funny bones as much as mine as they could picture the ridiculousness of the situation. Still we are all pretty determined to work our way through the ’50 things’ list and when I pointed out to them that it was hooting at owls or maybe we could go camping? They then suddenly became very enthusiastic about the owls…

I put them all in boiler suits – see picture – I’ve no idea why but I do quite like the idea of boys bombing around the garden in boiler suits getting all mucky. That never happens in this family despite the fact we have the boiler suits left over from the boys last school. (A fab idea that saves washing uniform each night, even the girls in pleated woollen skirts wore the boiler suits when they were outside) They were very excited at the thought of going out in the pitch dark dressed as builders (‘We look like builders Mummy! How cool!’) and the usual arguments over who was having the big torch, the penguin torch and the wind up torch started…

I must confess that I knew the owls were out and about as when we got home I could hear them. It was that inky, black darkness where if you shut your eyes and open them again you really can’t tell the difference so the owls were out even though it may only have been only 6 o’clock. The boys ventured out and heard their owl, as clear as day, hooting for all its might in a tree not far from where we were all standing. Once they heard that first hoot they were transfixed. The look on their faces was just fabulous as they realised they could actually hear an owl. Each boy had a go at hooting and the owl hooted back to them which was the most exciting thing when you’re 8, 5 and 3. Much giggling, much laughing and much smiling was had by all.

We googgled ‘British Owl calls’ and came across a fab website ( and found that our owl is a Tawny Owl. I printed off a picture of a Tawny Owl and we’re going to get a scrap book so we can put in all our ’50 Things’ activities and remember what we did this year.

The boys are very excited to add another bird name to their growing list. I love it that they know robins, blackbirds (Mr and Mrs), pheasants (Bob and Dave pheasant in the back garden have a love/hate each other in equal measures), grouse (Really stupid birds. We like to think of them as the sheep of the bird world because they are just so stupid), magpies, sparrows (oh my life they are they adolescents of the bird world –they are SO argumentative!!) thrushes, jays and now a tawny owl.

I was dreading this activity thinking that it would be a disaster as they wouldn’t want to hoot but I was wrong. They loved it and it took a while to get them back in once they’d gone out. Hubbie arrived home mid hoot and the boys excitedly told him all about what they were doing and he watched, a little bemused, as they all hooted, waited and then they heard the owl again. It was a great activity and even more so because it was done in the mysterious dark that surrounds the cottage but the boys don’t really get to go and investigate.

Something learned, lots of fun had but above all a lovely memory…

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