Why do owls hoot

An owl is a nocturnal bird and therefore the reasons for its hooting are quite same as the call of any other bird, which is communication. Hooting is a natural, vocal sound used by many species of owl to communicate, but it is a misconception that all species of owls hoot. Even the owls that do hoot, for example, the Barred owl, make many other sounds as well. As mentioned before, owls are nocturnal birds, therefore they hoot mostly at night along with performing other important activities like hunting or eating. As the night ends and the day dawns, the owls go back to their nests and mostly sleep. It is not uncommon to hear an owl hooting during the day though; it is just comparatively less heard.

Owls are territorial birds of prey; therefore one of the main reasons why they hoot is because they send a message to other male owls in the area. This message is more a declaration of its dominance over the territory. During mating season, an owl hoots to attract potential mates to it, so hooting can be a mating call depending on the duration and rhythm of the sound. An owl may also hoot to call on its immediate mate at times when it cannot find him/her.

The owl’s hoot at the dead of the night can scare children and sometimes even adults. Although it is a natural sound from the bird, like the hyena’s “laugh”, it sounds scary. House dogs often get scared by the sound and have trouble sleeping at night when an owl hoots. Due to the ominous nature of the hoot of an owl, it had once been hailed as a declaration of approaching death by the Romans. Many ancient folklores relate the owl’s hoot to death, while some consider it a good sign. In the ancient times, when there was no knowledge about the reality of most natural phenomenon, it was easy to label supernaturalism on almost anything. In the modern world however, most people know that an owl’s hoot is just a bird call and the mysticism attached to it is just a result of ignorance.