Northern saw-whet owl vocalizations
One advantage of recording at night is that there is much less anthrophony, a term coined by Dr. Bernie Krause to describe sounds caused by human activity, or noise. During the day there is air and regular traffic, logging, improperly muffled Harleys, as most of them are, can be heard for miles, and it is difficult to get a recording without this background noise; so one remedy is to go out when most people are asleep and try to find and record owls.
Most owls are capable of producing a great variety of sounds, anything from a wail, toot, hoot, bark, chitter, slide whistle, to bill snapping, just to name a few.
The western foothills of the Sierra Nevada is home to many saw-whet owls. Here are some of their vocalizations:
Wail to territorial toot:
this was recorded along Chalk Bluff Road on November 26, 2007. I don’t know what prompts saw-whet owls to wail, but I suspect it is a sign of agitation. I am open to explanations. Territorial toots can go on for hours.
This recording of a saw-whet owl wail was made above the town of Washington in Nevada County on December 1, 2007.
This recording of a saw-whet owl territorial hoot was recorded further up the road from the above location and is a territorial toot.
Note that while doing the territorial toot the volume and timing varies greatly.Published on September 26, 2008 · Filed under: OWLS;