what bird goes hoo hoo

If you know anything about birds, youve probably had a friend or even stranger that knows little about birds say something along these lines to you: “I have an owl right outside my window, and its really loud.” Or better yet: “I have a bunch of owls around my place!”

Now, if you have indeed been here before, then you have likely—and rightly—responded somewhat skeptically. For this persons sake, you hope they do have an owl nearby (its certainly possible), but you are also keenly aware of a few things that make you doubtful.

First off, if they are indeed hearing the bird directly outside their window or have “a bunch,” there are already issues. Though its not unheard of, owls dont make a habit of hanging around windows, and while you can sometimes see them in groups during mating season, they are typically solitary birds unless nesting. An alleged owl hooting during the day is another red flag, as they are largely nocturnal. Finally, if this person lives in an apartment building sandwiched between two other buildings in the dense Manhattan neighborhood of SoHo (real-life example yours truly once encountered), then theres no freaking way. Owls can live and even thrive in urban environments, but they still need trees and space to hunt. Location means a lot is what Im saying.

If its not an owl, then what is it? Most likely a Mourning Dove. Not only can their call sound a lot like an owls hooting to the untrained ear, but these skittish blue-gray birds can also be found everywhere from window ledges and alleyways to backyards and bird feeders. In fact, there isnt a corner of the U.S. where you cant find one. Where there are people, there are Mourning Doves. Not so with owls.

Still, all this information isnt always enough to convince someone of the truth, and understandably so. In many cases, the forlorn cooing that gives the Mourning Dove its name sounds more like the stereotypical hoot we ascribe to owls than the actual calls of several owl species. Even the brilliant Mindy Kaling has likely made this mistake:

If you click through the above tweet, youll see that the very first response suggests that she might also be hearing a Mourning Dove. I dont know where Kaling lives, so you cant completely discount an owl, but yeah, it probably wasnt one. A few tweets later, Audubons very own social media team weighed in and agreed.

Now, if you have in fact visited this location previously, you have probably—and correctly—responded with some skepticism. Although you sincerely hope that the person has an owl nearby—which is definitely possible—you are also acutely aware of a few factors that raise doubts in your mind.

You can see that the first comment on the tweet above speculates that she might be hearing a mourning dove as well. You can’t rule out the possibility of an owl because I don’t know where Kaling resides, but it probably wasn’t one. After a few tweets, the Audubon social media team commented and concurred.

What is that, if not an owl? It’s probably a mourning dove. These wary blue-gray birds are not only easy to spot in window ledges, alleyways, backyards, and bird feeders, but their call can also be mistaken for an owl’s hoot to the untrained ear. In fact, there isnt a corner of the U. S. where you cant find one. Where there are people, there are Mourning Doves. Not so with owls.

First of all, there are already problems if they are hearing the bird right outside their window or if they have “a bunch.” Owls don’t usually hang around windows, though it’s not unheard of. Unless they’re nesting, they are solitary birds that are occasionally seen in groups during mating season. Considering that owls are primarily nocturnal, any reported daytime hooting is cause for concern. Lastly, if this person resides in the densely populated SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan, where their apartment building is sandwiched between two other buildings (a real-life example yours truly once encountered), then there’s absolutely no way that Owls require trees and open space to hunt, even though they can survive and even thrive in urban areas. Location means a lot is what Im saying.

Thus, think of this post as a public service—something people could discover if they search for “what owl lives near windows,” or a source of information you could consult if necessary. However, don’t let the conversation end there after you’ve corrected the record. Suggest that they learn to identify birds by ear to pique this person’s interest in bird calls. Heck, take them owling for the real deal. There are bright futures even in a city like New York City—just not in SoHo, you know.

Typically heard in the morning, I’m sure I’ve heard it in south Texas and central Florida.

FAQ

What bird makes the Yoohoo sound?

The black-capped chickadee is a common bird spotted all over the area. They are compact with a thin, short bill. They have a black “cap” on the top of their head with white cheeks and a contrast bib. Their song is two notes, and it often sounds like they are calling out to their friends like “yoo-hoo!”

What bird sounds like a woohoo?

The most common bird that says “Whoo, hooooooo” isn’t an owl at all. The Mourning Dove is so named because of its call sounds sorrowful, as if it’s in mourning: Hoo-ah-hoo…Hooo… Hoooo…

What bird makes the whoo whoo sound?

The cooooOOOOO-woo-woo-woo call is almost always uttered by the male mourning dove, not the female. These distinctive mourning dove sounds are—wait for it—a wooing call, an enticement to a mate or potential mate. The song must be effective, as these birds mate for life.

Which owl hoots 3 times?

Great Horned Owl Its gravelly hoots carry far, and sound almost like a muffled foghorn from a distance. When pairs chant together the female goes first, followed closely by the male. The second and third hoots in their series tend to be the shortest.