I woke up with the rain gurgling down the guttering at 5:30am this morning, made myself my customary morning coffee and sat down to do some work before the morning's quiet was broken by the duvet-bearing preschooler sharing her first thoughts of the day with me. As I typed, my muted keyboard percussion was accompanied by a "mew mew mew" sound* from the lanky poplars that line our top paddock.
This curious mewing is the less well known call of the morepork (ruru) - the onomatopoeic "more-pork" call being the one we associate with them. (In fact, until only a week or so back I had no idea what creature this mystery call belonged to.) I am not sure what the mewing call means. I suppose, just like humans, owls would get bored with just saying the same thing over and over again (as a mother of young children, I can empathise completely), so perhaps it is just for variety - who knows? (Perhaps someone does - if so, please be in touch.)
In any case, as far as morning calls go, I think this is up there with the best.
*You can listen here (on the excellent NZbirdsonline site) to the various morepork calls.
Image: Newly fledged young. Wellington, January 2009. Image © Peter Reese by Peter Reese