That’s the soundtrack here over the past few nights. Extremely accurate, a very loud beeping sound every three seconds.
We’ve had guests over for the weekend who couldn’t sleep during the night because the sound was so loud by their window. We were more fortunate in our bedroom, but could still hear it clearly when going outside. You could time your watch by it. One two Beeeeeeeeeep One Two Beeeeeep…. for hours on end.
Everyone had their own theory (or not very educated guess).
My brother-in-law decided someone’s alarm was going on through the night.
IsraeliDad thought it must be a bird and insisted on having heard it before.
Myself, I thought it was Aliens broadcasting some sort of signal over our neighborhood, testing our nerves.
We tried to investigate. IsraeliDad took a torchlight and went out in the night to find the source of the sound. I stayed home,not in the mood for being abducted into the mother spaceship. He came back, unchanged, I think, and said that as soon as he got close, the sound stopped, so he couldn’t locate it.
Well, Google is your friend. I figured we can’t have been the only ones to have heard this. Indeed, searching in Hebrew for “night time bleeps every three seconds” gave me the result.
Tree Owls. “Yanshuf Etzim” in Hebrew.
And there’s a good reason why none of us would recognize it. Apparently, tree owls are Olim Hadashim – new immigrants to Israel. They used to fly through during winter time, but about a decade ago, they began nesting here. Nests were observed in the 1970’s, but since 2000 they’ve been growing in numbers. No one is quite sure why. There are now hundreds of nests reported every year in Israel.
So, what’s with the strange sound? Apparently, the cute silly little owl fledglings get out of the nest when they’re a few weeks old, and start rambling around nearby branches. They still can’t hunt, so they call out to their parents for food. Every three seconds, like clockwork, until Mom or Dad bring them their meal. And I thought my kids nag me when they’re hungry.
Fortunately, the noise stops once they learn how to get their own food, which should be in a few weeks time.
So, if you live in Israel, or travel through, look for the sound of tree owls. Our feathered Olim Hadashim!
Speaking of Olim Hadashim, please take a minute to visit MakingAliyah.com, where my dear friend and brand new Olah Hadasha (new immigrant) shares her story of making Aliyah to Israel. You can also read there about our recent trip together, from the coast of the Mediterranean to the Sea of Galilee.