Do Owls Respond To Calls?


Owls do respond to calls, including recorded calls and calls made by humans.

In fact, calling owls can be a way to attract them to a particular area for observation or study.

Different species of owls have their own unique calls, which they use for a variety of reasons such as claiming and defending territories, attracting mates, and keeping in contact with each other. 

For example, Great Horned Owls have a lot to say and can make a variety of sounds including high-pitched trills, hearty squawks, hisses, pops, meows, coos, and snaps of their bills. 

Barred Owls, on the other hand, are known for their distinctive “who cooks for you, who cooks for you all” call.

It’s important to note that calling owls can also be a form of avian harassment and should be done responsibly and with caution. 

When calling owls, it’s recommended to use recorded calls rather than imitating their calls yourself, as this can be less stressful for the birds and reduce the risk of harassment. 

Additionally, it’s important to be aware of the potential impact of calling owls on their behavior and to avoid disturbing them unnecessarily.

What Types Of Calls Do Owls Respond To, And How Do They React When They Hear Them?

Owls make a variety of sounds for different reasons.

Here are some of the types of calls owls make and how they react when they hear them:

  • Hoots: Hooting is the most well-known owl call, and it is often used to claim and defend territories, attract mates, and keep in contact with other owls.

    When owls hear hoots from other owls, they may respond with their own hoots.
  • Screams and Screeches: Some owls, such as young owls and adults defending their nests, emit piercing screams and screeches.

    Owls may also use these sounds to communicate with potential mates.

    When owls hear these sounds, they may respond with their own screams and screeches.
  • Barks: When an owl feels scared or threatened, it may emit short, low barking sounds to try to scare off the perceived threat.
  • Whistles: Some owls make whistling sounds, which can be used to attract mates and maintain contact with family members.
  • Beak Snaps: Owls may snap their beaks together to communicate with each other.
    When owls hear calls from other owls, they may respond in a variety of ways depending on the situation.

    For example, they may respond with their own calls to claim and defend their territory or to attract a mate.

    They may also respond with aggressive behavior if they feel threatened by another owl.

Are There Any Specific Owl Species That Are More Responsive To Calls Than Others? If So, What Makes Them More Receptive?

There are specific owl species that are more responsive to calls than others.

The following species are known to be more receptive to calls:

  • Elf Owls: Elf Owls were found to be most responsive to their own calls during April and May, but more responsive to Great Horned Owl calls during June.
  • Barred Owls: Barred Owls have been observed to respond to recorded owl calls, with response rates, response times, and behavior varying depending on the environmental conditions.
  • Great Horned Owls: Great Horned Owls advertise their territories with deep, soft hoots with a stuttering rhythm.

    They are also known to respond to broadcast vocalizations.
    On the other hand, Spectacled Owls did not respond at all during a broadcasting period.

    The reason why some owl species are more responsive to calls than others is not entirely clear.

    However, it is possible that factors such as breeding season, environmental conditions, and territorial behavior may play a role in their responsiveness.

Can Humans Imitate Owl Calls Effectively, And If So, What Are Some Techniques Or Strategies To Attract Owls Using Vocalizations?

Humans can imitate owl calls effectively, and it is possible to attract owls using vocalizations.

Here are some techniques and strategies to attract owls using vocalizations:

  1. Research the owls in your area: Try to know what kind of owls live in your area by listening closely at night for owl sounds.

    This will help you determine which owl calls to use.
  2. Practice your owl calls: If you want to try calling owls, you can practice your best owl impersonation and see if you can get one to answer you back.

    One thing that can help is to listen to recordings of owl calls to get an idea of what they sound like.
  3. Be patient and persistent: Attracting owls can take time and patience.

    Keep working on your yard and practicing your owl calls.

    One thing that can help is to have a massive amount of patience and persistence.
  4. Make your yard owl-friendly: Owls are attracted to yards that are similar to their natural environment.

    This means letting native plants like wild herbs, shrubs, and young trees sprout naturally.

    You can also install an owl nesting box on a tree or post to encourage roosting.
  5. Provide them with food: One of the best ways to see owls is to make sure there is a reliable supply of food for them.

    Owls are birds of prey, which means they eat meat and like their food freshly killed.

    You can also attract rodents and other small animals that owls prey on by planting native plants and providing bird baths.
  6. Limit noise and light: Owls are sensitive to noise and light, so it’s important to keep your yard quiet and dark at night.

    This means limiting how often you mow your lawn, relocating noisy hobbies, and keeping your pets leashed rather than letting them run free.

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