Friday, December 23, 2011

Iris Squawks

We always think of Great Horned Owls hooting. But they actually do several types of hoots, a variety of chitters, and on occasion, some different kinds of squawks.

I have a fairly good handle on what most of the hoots and chitters mean, but the squawks leave me a bit clueless. They are quite uncommon, which makes it even more difficult to figure out what they mean.

The other evening while I was sitting in front of the computer Iris started squawking. COOL! And it wasn't a single or double was a 3-4 noter, repeatedly! (See video)

Interestingly, not long after Iris started squawking, a wild female started hooting just outside the cages. It wasn't Virginia, the resident wild female, or Scarlett Owl Hara, the female that tried for months to steal Rusty away from Iris. After reviewing spectrograms of the hoots, I think it was Jezebelle, a female who was here for a few days in August flirting with Rusty and trying to attack Iris. She's the one who hurt her eye slamming into the window where Alice was.

Talk about exciting...hearing Iris squawk AND this other female here!

Now the real question is: Did Iris know Jezebelle was out there before she started squawking, or did Jezebelle hear Iris and come over and hoot? We can only speculate.

But Iris did some multi-squawks again at about 10 PM last night (thanks to a viewer for catching that!) She was sitting on a perch in the flight cage next to Rusty. Nothing was going on. No other owls hooted. I couldn't come up with any reason she was doing it.

At any rate, please post a comment here if you hear any squawking so we can eventually figure out what it means.