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Do Owls Hoot During the Day? Why Do They Do It?

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snowy owl perching

Hearing an owl hoot during the day invokes many superstitions that suggest dark times and even death are ahead. While these superstitions are unlikely to be true, many people ask us if owls do, in fact, hoot during the day. The short answer is yes; while rare, it’s not impossible to hear an owl hoot during the day. Keep reading while we look at several reasons you are more likely to hear an owl hoot than superstition.

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Why Do Owls Hoot During the Day?

1. Breed

While most owls are nocturnal and sleep throughout the day, some breeds prefer to hunt in the sunlight. The Snowy Owl is one such breed, and there is also the Northern Hawk Owl and Burrowing Owl, among others. If you hear an owl hoot during the day, we highly recommend searching the Internet to find out what hours live in your area to see if there are daytime breeds.

snowy owl flying
Image Credit: Pixabay

2. Time of Year

When looking at owl breeds, it’s also important to pay attention to the time of year. Many birds will migrate, so you may suddenly hear an owl that isn’t usually in the area. For instance, you can only find the Snowy Owl in Pennsylvania during the winter months when it migrates south from further north. If you live near an open field in Pennsylvania, it would not be unusual for you to hear an owl hoot during the day in January or February.

3. Breeding

One thing that can certainly throw owls out of their routine is the mating season. Both males and females can be eager to find a partner, which can cause them to be active at unusual times of the day. As males tend to make several sounds to attract potential mates, it wouldn’t be uncommon to hear them hoot. In fact, many people call the owl mating season the hooting season.

couple of owls
Image Credit: Pixabay

4. Family Duties

Another reason a normally nocturnal owl would be awake during the day his family duties. Often young hatchlings can make plenty of noise that disturbs the parents causing them to be awake, and they will hoot during the day as they search for food. Owls usually breed between March and August, with their eggs hatching three to five weeks later. First several weeks after the eggs hatch, you can expect to hear the parents hoot during the day.

5. You have Gotten Too Close

Another reason you might hear an owl hoot during the day is that you’ve gotten too close to its nest. Though most owls are nocturnal, they have excellent hearing, and some studies show that they can hear a mouse rustling from more than 900 feet away. With hearing this good, they can likely hear a human from quite a distance, even when asleep, and may let out a hoot or two to warn you away.

OWL_ suju-foto_Pixabay
Image Credit: suju-foto, Pixabay

Related Read: Why Do Owls Hoot? 4 Reasons for This Behavior

Are Owls Dangerous?

While it’s even rarer than hearing them hoot, an owl will attack a human, and there are many documented accounts of it happening. As recently as February of 2021, we have seen reports of a family dealing with owl attacks in Canada. Another owl is a suspect in a murder case, so we recommend observing owls safely using binoculars to minimize the risks of attack, especially if you don’t have experience with their behavior to know when they are getting defensive.

How Can I Keep Myself Safe Around An Angry Owl?

  • As we already mentioned, owls will let you know when you’re getting too close by hooting and making other noise in an attempt to scare you off.
  • Carry a long stick and hold it high above your head as most owls attack the highest point of the target. The stick can confuse it long enough to give you time to escape.
  • Make noise. Clapping is an especially good way to get rid of an owl.
  • Do not approach baby owls on the ground. Many people think these small birds need help and rush to their aid, but it’s quite common for them to leave the nest before flying and spending some time on the ground. If the parents see you approach their children, there’s a high likelihood that they will attack.
great grey owl
Image Credit: Pixabay

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Many people will spend their entire lives not seeing or hearing an owl even though you can find them everywhere in the United States and the rest of the world, besides Antarctica. Since it’s so rare, many people consider hearing one of these animals to be a bad omen during the day. However, it’s much more likely that they live near a nest close to the mating season. It’s not so rare for an owl to be awake during the day during this time, and it’s likely just dealing with its family and not trying to spread an omen. If the hooting is loud and repeating, it’s likely a warning that it’s time to turn around and leave.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this short guide and found the answers you need. If we have helped you be better informed, please share our look into if owls hoot during the day on Facebook and Twitter.

Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

About the Author Ed Malaker

Ed Malaker is a veteran writer who contributes to a wide range of blogs covering information on computer programming, pets, birding, tools, fitness, guitars, and optics. Outside of writing, Ed is often found working in the garden or performing DIY projects in the house. Ed is also a musician, spending his time composing music for independent films or helping people repair their guitars.