Wondering Why?

Why Do Owls Hoot?

Why Do Owls Hoot?

Owls are very commonly found creatures. Not only are they found on six out of seven continents (there are no owls in Antarctica), but also they are not new creatures to many places. The ancient Romans often believed that the hooting of an owl signified death, and it is actually said that an owl was what predicted the death of Caesar. They also must have been quite scary to the pre-civilization peoples, huddles around fires and listening to a chorus of hooting owls; especially at night, owls’ hoots can be extremely scary and mysterious. Sumerians also believed that the owls signified death and even had an owl as a goddess: a hoot meant that a soul somewhere had passed into the afterlife, and hearing a hoot on the evening of a funeral of a loved one was considered a very good omen.

Another important fact is that not all owls hoot ‚ only some. In fact, owls make almost as many different sounds as there are types of owls. Thus they will be referred to from here on out as ‘calls,, just like birdcalls, as that is simply what they are. Owls hoot to communicate with others of their species and those not of their species as well. There are many different kinds of calls, and they can all mean something different. There are calls to warn others nearby of imminent danger, such as a predator or unknown animal (like a human taking a night hike for example). They can be used to advertise that the particular owl is ready to mate and is looking for a mate. Various calls can also be used to warn other birds in the area that a particular area is their territory; owls are very territorial birds. And finally, they can be used as just simple communication, as with a mate or with offspring.

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