Who Gives a Hoot?

Horned Owl by Ken KitsonOne year, early in the morning in mid-September, I heard six deep hoots, answered a short distance away by another six or so. This serenade went back and forth for about twenty minutes. The performance was repeated that day about 6PM. This was the Great Horned Owl,
a common resident here and one of our largest owls.

The male selects the territory and then calls to attract a mate. The female then selects her lifetime mate and she will also select the final nest site.* Mated pairs may occupy territories year-round and the territories are established and maintained through the hooting serenades. While they remain in the same territory throughout the year, they only roost together during the mating season.

The Great Horned Owl does not build its nest but will use the nest of others such as the Red-tailed Hawk, crow, or squirrel. They usually have one brood with one to four eggs (usually two). The female does almost all of the incubating and brooding until the young are two weeks old, while the male brings food for her and for the young.
Barn Owl by Ken Kitson
Another owl that may appear familiar is the Barn Owl.
It does not give a hoot but gives a rasping hiss or snore.
It requires open areas and cavities for nesting, tree cavities or man-made such as abandoned buildings or nest boxes.

— Ken Kitson (Illustrations also by Ken Kitson)

* Intriguing Owls: Tekiela

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