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Thank you for sharing this story, valued reading it!
It seems like the listen option is not functioning, sorry folks...will try again
I came across this fascinating story yesterday and wanted to share with birders and history buffs here, especially since it's also Black History Month.
We all know Harriet Tubman as an abolitionist and political activist, who used her extensive knowledge of the Underground Railroad network to rescue enslaved people. It appears, what is not well known is that she was an unsung naturalist and the ultimate outdoors person.
She used bird calls, specifically the calls of the barred owl, to help 70 people escape enslavement, "We know that she used the call of an owl to alert refugees and her freedom seekers that it was OK, or not OK, to come out of hiding and continue their journey. It would have been the Barred Owl, or as it is sometimes called, a 'hoot-owl.' They make a sound that some people think sounds like ‘who cooks for you? Who cooks for you?’ ”
At the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, the activist has been memorialized in U.S. poet laureate Robert Hayden’s poem Runagate, Runagate, which mentions Tubman, and also the owls she mimicked with such accuracy.
Hoot-owl calling in the ghosted air,
Five times calling to the hants in the air,
Shadow of a face in the scary leaves,
Shadow of a voice in the talking leaves.
Read more here : https://www.audubon.org/news/harriet-tubman-unsung-naturalist-used-owl-calls-signal-underground-railroad
Also press LISTEN to hear the distinct barred owls! Sound recorded by Peter Ward and Ken Hall in British Columbia, taken from xeno-canto.org
P.S. sorry guys for skipping a few days, pls feel free to post bird sightings and stories with the daily backyard birding tag AND come join and post to the casual birders page :)