What’s that noise in the backyard tonight? Who’s out there?
In autumn in Pennsylvania, great horned owls (Bubo viginianus) call to establish territory and court their mates. Their family time is coming soon. She’ll lay eggs before any other raptor species, sometimes as early as December.
Listen for their 5-note syncopated call: “hu-hu-Hoo HOO HOO“
If you’re lucky you’ll hear them “sing” a duet. (Turn up your speakers to hear both birds in this recording. The male’s voice is the lower one.)
Anywhere you live in North America, if there are woods or fields nearby great horned owls are there year round.
Sometimes they make very odd noises.
Whooo’s out there?
‘Tis the season for great horned owls.
(photo by Alan Wolf via Flickr, Creative Commons license, audio from Xeno Canto, click on the captions to hear the originals.)