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Let's Hear it for the Tawny Owl

Updated: 24th October 2018

Here's an opportunity to get involved in a conservation project without leaving home, just by listening out for the call of the tawny owl.

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is asking you to spend a bit of time - twenty minutes a week maybe - on a 'hearing survey' of a nearby garden, park or woodland over the next six months, and help fill in a tawny owl map of the UK.

The tawny owl makes that classic t-wit t'woo call that many of us are familiar with from stories and games if not real life. And in fact, t-wit t-woo is the call and response between the female and male respectively: the female calls t-wit (often written as kewick or kee-wick), while the male responds with t'woo - and of course the other way round, with the male calling and the female responding. If you haven't heard it, this is what it sounds like

Even if you don't hear a tawny owl, the BTO is is very keen that you report this too as it helps build up a picture - a map - of where they are and where they aren't. The better the picture the greater the opportunities to discover the reasons for gaps in the population distribution across the country.

If you'd like to get involved and learn more about the project, follow this link to the BTO website for tips on when and how to listen out for tawny owls and get listening.

For related articles and other sources of information about owls follow the links:

Update: we haven't done our twenty minute hearing survey yet, but we did hear a male tawny owl calling something like 'yoohooooo' last night which we reported via 'My BTO' on the BTO website. Wonder how many we'll hear when we sit down for the actual survey!

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