Hi all! So a couple of days ago I was out hiking and heard an owl giving a single “hoo” song. It would be a single “hoo”…long pause…and then another “hoo”. This was in the mountains of Virginia, United States, in Shenandoah National Park.
I know it won’t be possible to ID anything definitively based on this description, but just wondering if anyone has ideas of who this owl might have been? Unfortunately I did not get a recording. The one owl that I’m really used to hearing is the barred owl, and this was definitely not the distinctive “who cooks for you” that I’m used to them making, but not sure if they ever give single “hoo” sounds, or whether it was maybe a different owl?
You can check vocalizations of your local species on one of bird websites or https://xeno-canto.org/
Long-eared Owls give single hoots, I think they’re the only owl locally that would do that. It would be very unusual to hear that during the day, and I’ve no idea how common they are (eBird does have records from the area-ish). The only other bird I can think of that would give a “hoo” would be a Mourning Dove.
Other possibilities, although less hoot-like, would be Yellow-bellied Sapsucker or Cooper’s Hawk. There might be more, but that’s all I can think of off the top of my head.
I am only familiar with the little owl in my garden which is a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, and he kind of chirps and many times. Sorry. That said, if this was within a National Park, is there a park website that lists species within the park?
(Ack, not meant to reply to Marina but to original post, unsure how to correct.)
Barred owls can give a single note, descending call, which can sound like a ‘hoo’ depending on distance:
I hear barred owls make this sound often, and when they do it’s often not accompanied by “who cooks for you” calls.
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