Jonathan Franzen, as we have all read in The New Yorker, is a bird watcher. But did you know he was also a bird mimic? Well now you do, because the Wall Street Journal has a whole story about it:
“I have called a Western Screech-Owl out by imitating its call,” he said, launching into the call.
I’ve never seen, let alone heard, the species, so I can’t attest to the verisimilitude of Mr. Franzen’s call. However, it sounded persuasive. The author pursed his lips, then emitted a soft, resonant, self-confident sound—something between a whistle and a hoot—that evoked the nocturnal pine/oak woods of the Western U.S. that is the owl’s natural habitat.
“I have a bit of an ear,” he boasted. “Fiction writers often do.”