Tawny owl

Tawny owl

If you are out on a still night, we show you how to tell the difference between a Tawny Owl and a Barn Owl, and how to call like them. You never know they may call back.

Amazingly I actually managed this one night while walking home late from work on Hampstead High Street, North London. Other people must have thought I was crazy, but then a tawny owl landed in the tree above my head. I was as shocked as them.

How to hoot like an Owl

Firstly let’s us just clarify that not all Owls hoot, some screech.

Barn owl's screech

Barn owl’s screech

Barn owls (Tyto Alba) for example make a screech like this: Barn owl screech

Whereas Tawny owls (Strix Aluco) make this nice hooting sound that we are all familiar with: Tawny owl hoot

To try and call a Tawny owl try using this method:

Clasp your hands with your left hand over your right.

Make a chamber in the middle of your hands, and place your thumbs parallel. Part the knuckles of your thumbs just a little and place your lips over the knuckles and blow. You should be aiming the air between the crease in your thumb knuckles and into the chamber. Try adjusting the space between your thumbs to try and make the sound.

Once you have a note you can adjust the size of the chamber in your hands to get different pitches and strength of note.

This takes a while to master, but once you have the right notes, go out at night and see if you can’t get an owl to respond back to you.