Okay, heard in Otley…..The Tawny Owl in the cemetery was relatively quiet last Autumn, so I’ve been glad to hear it re-asserting itself these last few weeks. Of course I may have been hearing several different birds, and the classic owl hoot is definitely made by two Tawnies, with the female’s “Towit” being answered by the male’s “Towoo”. Tawnies can distinguish different individuals by their call: males have stronger reactions to strangers than known neighbours; the pitch of the call varies according to the owl’s size, and males with a larger number of blood parasites have calls with a reduced range of frequencies. One study suggests they are more vocal when a greater proportion of the moon is visible, and the behaviour of other nocturnal birds has been linked to different phases of the moon.
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