Sunday night was one of the first crystal-clear, cloudless nights we have had in a long time this summer. While it was cool outdoors there was no wind and the suburb quietens earlier on a Sunday night as people prepare for the week of work ahead.
I needed to go in search of our cat who was also enjoying this special night outside. As I left the house I could hear the welcome calling of our little native owl, Ruru or perhaps more commonly known as the Morepork owl.
The name “morepork” was given to it by European settlers who rightly thought its call sounded like “more pork”, “more pork”. Maori described its call as “Ru, ru.”
Hearing the cry of New Zealand’s only remaining native owl reminds me of my childhood. Summer holidays at beaches that were once remote spots would mean I would often fall asleep listening to the call of this small, sharp eyed, sharp eared owl.
It is special to hear it in such a busy urban environment but once again it is testament to all the effort that has gone into predator control, the establishment of nearby wildlife sanctuaries and the retention of large stands of trees. I hope we hear more owls calling in the night.