Burrowing Owl Conservation Society of BC

All about Burrowing Owls

Vocalization

Burrowing Owls make a wide range of calls. The main call is a soft "who who" sound usually given at the burrow entrance. Males use this main call for attracting females to the burrow. The sound is also associated with breeding and identifiying the territory of a pair.

Over 17 calls have been identified, including "rasp," "chuck," and "chatter." They also have unique alarm calls. Adults will emit a piercing scream but juveniles give a rattlesnake like "buzz" when threatened in the burrow.

Young owls in burrow sound like a rattlesnake.

At the burrow entrance, the adult male will warn off intruders with series of chucking sounds, accompanied by head bobbing. Other defensive posturing includes dropping the head and body, spreading the wings up and out, while making a hissing sound.

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