Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Owlet Calls
Name: Nancy H.
Status: other
Age: 40s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 7/4/2003

We have woods behind our home and there are a lot of hawks. I do not know what kind, we live in the northeast, a Pittsburgh suburb. Recently, one hawk calls at almost all night long and it sounds like another one from a distance is calling back. They out back and forth all night long. I love these birds and the noise is not the issue, my family is curious as to why they are doing this. It has not happened before this summer. I do not know if they are nesting behind our home, but I did not think they cried out all night and am hoping it is not sick or something is wrong.


These calls are happening probably from the end of April (depending on your latitude in North America) right into the summer months, and this is not the call of a hawk, but you describe what can only be one or more juvenile Great Horned Owl(s) demanding food from its two parents. Good years will bring two juveniles from a nest, but it is more common that only one will survive into adulthood. Juveniles do not have the adult "hoot", if you will, but a screeching call that would rival any hawk in intensity. This goes on all night. Actually the juveniles are active about three in the afternoon and will continue to be active in the early morning hours, but the adults are just plain worn out!! Calling in the daylight hours will bring the mobs of crows to harass the juveniles so calling during the day is not usually observed.

I hope this helps.

Steve Sample

Click here to return to the Zoology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory