Do Owls Like Music?


No, owls do not enjoy music.

There is some evidence that suggests that owls might enjoy music, or at least be attracted to it.

Here are some examples:

  • In a posted YouTube video, a barn owl can be seen bopping its head to the rhythm of the music.
  • A group of rescued barn owls were filmed “dancing” to Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” in a video posted on
  • In a post on Reddit, it was suggested that barn owls may be adjusting their sonic magnifying glasses to hone in on the source of the music.
  • According to an article on The Gazette, owls are known to make music themselves, particularly during the winter months.
  • In a video posted on PawTracks, three owls can be seen bobbing their heads to the music.

Some of these examples may be more accurately described as the owls simply responding to the sound rather than specifically enjoying music.

Can Owls Distinguish Between Different Types Of Music?

It is unclear whether owls can distinguish between different types of music.

However, it is known that each species of owl has its own unique call, and sometimes more than one.

Owls use their voices to communicate with each other, and their language consists of a multitude of sounds, including yelps, whistles, barks, and beak snaps, just to name a few.

Barn owls, for example, do not hoot like many other owls.

Instead, they make a long, harsh scream that lasts for a few seconds.

Eastern Screech-Owls have a distinctive trill that sounds like a horse whinnying.

While it is not clear whether owls can distinguish between different types of music, it is known that they have a wide range of vocalizations that they use to communicate with each other.

Are There Any Specific Genres Or Instruments That Owls Are More Likely To Respond To?

There is no clear evidence that owls respond to specific genres or instruments.

However, there are some behaviors and sounds that may attract or elicit a response from owls.

Spending a lot of time outdoors is the best way to find owls.

Researchers use playback of calls of owl species to attract them, but doing this purely for recreation needs to be carefully considered.

Owls are talkative and have a vocal repertoire that goes beyond hoots, including whinnies, trills, wails, screeches, screams, barks, hisses, whines, and bill-claps.

Learning owl calls and expanding your understanding of what owls sound like can help with successful owling.

Some owls, such as the great horned owl, have a duet call that can be heard when a mated pair calls back and forth to each other.

Owls have evolved specialized wing features that allow them to fly silently, and they have more sensitive hearing than other birds.

On average, owls are most sensitive to sounds from 2 to 4 kHz.

Barn owls are most accurate at localizing sounds between 4 and 8 kHz.

What Behaviors Or Reactions Do Owls Exhibit When Exposed To Music?

Owls exhibit a range of behaviors and reactions depending on their situation.

Here are some examples:

  • Territorial and courting calls: Owls use hooting to signal to each other and other animals vocally.

    Hooting is often territorial and associated with courting, with the male usually having the lower pitched hoot.
  • Expressive body language: Owls have a very expressive body language.

    Many species will bob and weave their head, as if curious about something – this is in fact to further improve their three-dimensional concept of what they are viewing.

    When protecting young or defending itself, an owl may assume a “threat” or defensive posture, with feathers ruffled to increase apparent size.

    The head may be lowered, and wings spread out and pointing down.
  • Stress signs: Some owls will rapidly and/or very deliberately blink their eyes, often in conjunction with wide eyes and small pupils.

    This is functionally showing you they want you to back off or leave.

    Many owls, especially medium to large owls, will fan out their wings and puff up enormously when scared.

    This display is usually accompanied by hissing and rapidly snapping the bill shut.

    This is a sign of extreme fear and is generally only given when an owl is grounded and approached closely by a human or predator.
  • Response to music: There is no clear evidence on how owls react to music.

    However, a study found that Eastern Screech-Owls responded to playback of conspecific song by uttering more bounce songs.

    Another study found that the white badge of eagle owls plays an important role in visual communication during contests.

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