[Tweeters] Owl heard in Volunteer Park, Seattle during CBC count on Saturday morning

Kevin Purcell kevinpurcell at pobox.com
Tue Dec 29 15:10:50 PST 2009

On the CBC Saturday morning in 2009 at 9am in Volunteer Park, Seattle
three of us heard a "Hoo hoo" and then gap with enough time to think
"That sounded just like an owl ..." and then a single "Hoo" to confirm

We were rather surprised and at first we thought that one of the
others was making an owl call. Not the case.

As we were split up at that point by perhaps 30m to 50m we roughly
triangulated it to a couple of clumps of Western Redcedars on the
"central road" maybe 30m from the Conservatory. It didn't respond to
my imitation (perhaps because I'm not that good at it) and a quick
look in the cedars didn't reveal it. It wasn't discovered by the crows
whilst were were there.

I didn't see anything flying from that clump on Sunday evening when I
watched from sunset to about 90 minutes after sunset.

On Monday morning I looked for whitewash and pellets but found only a
little of the former (that could be crows or owls) and none of the

On Dec 28, 2009, at 7:31 PM, squeakyfiddle at aol.com wrote:

> Just at dusk today in Seward Park I heard a repeated "hoo Hoooo__

> hoo. hoo". I listened for a good 15 minutes. It seemed to come from

> a single individual, was deep and resonant and was made in twos at

> ~30 sec intervals perhaps 1-3 minutes apart. Any thoughts? The

> pattern doesn't quite fit either Barred Owl or Great Horned Owl. Two

> pair of Barred Owls are known to nest in the park; one Great Horned

> Owl is suspected to be present, though there is no confirmation yet.

> Might this be the vocalization of an immature owl of either species

> that hasn't quite gotten the right pattern yet?

Or perhaps a third option: owl vocalizations are more varied
especially when not being used for mating or territorial calling. The
owl in VP almost certainly wasn't calling for territory or a mate -- a
bad idea in daylight with the crows about.

This is a good site with owl calls (of the world) to get a feel for this


In listening to recordings I've found that Great Horned Owl sound more
"pure", more like a stereotypical owl you'd hear on a movie FX track
(obviously :-), whereas Barred Owls sound more "comical" to me and
perhaps have a greater diversity of calls (including some that sound
rather like the crow begging call that ends in a gag) e.g. the track
on Birdsong of the Pacific Northwest from The Mountineers.

I've had multiple reports this year of a "large owl" roosted in the
park on and off by some of the dog walkers I see. And saw a large owl
(I now believe was a Great Horned) being escoreted out of the park by
pretty much all of the crows in the day roost.

Clearly they're around but a little elusive :-)
Kevin Purcell
kevinpurcell at pobox.com
twitter: @kevinpurcell

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