By Gary Bogue
Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 at 5:48 am in great horned owl.
The owls have begun their Fall dawn hooting meetings in our yard. This one and its friend were greeting each other just “late” enough to give sufficient light for a few pictures (6:35 a.m.) on September 7. This morning I watched them from 5:45 until 6:15 a.m. Are these greetings signaling the beginning of courting season, or are they just preamble?
Enjoying nature’s alarm clock,
Marina Chainey, Richmond, California
In the last week or so, I’ve heard a few great horned owl hoots echoing across the canyon behind my house in Benicia, but not a lot. It’s pretty early for great horned owls to start courting. That usually begins in October or November.
Male great horned owls go on occasional hooting binges throughout the year, so it’s sometimes hard to tell when the actual courting begins. My rule of thumb on this, when the males really start hooting up a storm, all night long, followed by lots of females hooting back at them, then it’s probably courting time. I don’t hear that happening yet. Anybody else out there in the San Francisco Bay Area hearing anything? /Gary