Why Do Owls Come Out At Night? (5 Important Answers for Beginners)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Owls are fascinating creatures. They are distinguished by characteristics such as a flat face, big eyes, and a tiny pointed beak.

They have incredible hunting abilities that are highly impressive. These birds can fly softly and unnoticed.

However, one trait that these birds possess is their ability to remain active at night. The term “night owl” was coined because most owls are only active at night. Truth is, I’ll find it quite weird seeing an owl during the day.

Now that you know a little bit about these fascinating animals, let’s find out why they come out at night.

Why Do Owls Come Out At Night?

Why Do Owls Come Out At Night

To hunt:

Owls are nocturnal birds. This means that they hunt at night. There is usually less competition throughout the night.

This is because other birds of prey are diurnal, meaning they hunt during the day.

Again, at night, their prey are defenseless. The majority of their victims would be sleeping or fatigued at this time.

Most of them may not be able to see properly at night. As a result, they are unable to escape predators.

This makes their hunting scheme a lot easier. They don’t need to put forth much effort to catch their prey.

Owls are well-known for their acute hearing and nocturnal vision. These positive characteristics make it easier for them to thrive at hunting.

Surprisingly, these birds can spin their heads 270 degrees without interrupting blood flow to their brains.

These birds are known to hunt little animals and insects, with a few birds. However, certain species specialize in fish hunting.

However, not all owl species hunt at night. During the day, the diurnal northern hawk-owl and the gregarious burrowing owl are active.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on why owls click their beaks

To defend themselves against predators

Owls havePredators as well. This may come as a surprise. Owls are birds of prey, what predators could they possibly have?

Owls can be prey to other creatures, man inclusive. This, however, occurs only in rare instances.

Because owls are large birds, other animals frequently avoid them.

Also, because they are active at night, they have a higher chance of avoiding potential predators.

A juvenile owl, on the other hand, is readily preyed upon by predators such as foxes and bobcats. This is due to their tiny stature and lack of physical power.

Eagles and hawks have also been seen swooping down on owls. They do this, though, to gain territory, not to eat the owl.

Continue reading to learn more about owls and their night activities.

What Does It Mean When You Hear An Owl At Night

Hooting is a sound that owls are known to produce. Every animal make certain sounds that humans use to identify them.

An owl may hoot at night for a variety of reasons. The first probable explanation is for communication.

Another basic cause is territorial marking or a mating call. This is a common occurrence in birds.

Shriek is also another sound produced by these birds. Female owls shriek at night to call out to male owls that are hunting away from their nest.

These are all-natural amongst birds. And because most owls are active at night, it’s only natural for them to hoot at night.

However, there are several more strange theories about owls hooting at night. Let us go through a few of them.

• The Greeks think that owl hooting at night is a positive omen of good fortune. This is due to the owl’s association with Athena, the goddess of wisdom.

• Native Americans think it is a sign of the spiritual realm’s mysteries being revealed. They also think it’s an indication of shapeshifting. To them, an owl is a mythical creature that holds secrets.

• The Chinese regard it as a positive omen. They think it brings about prosperity.

All of this sounds fantastic, right? And I’m sure you wouldn’t mind hearing an owl hooting outside your window at night.

However, there are certain unfavorable beliefs regarding these species.

Some people think that an owl hooting is an omen of death, particularly the death of a child.

Furthermore, some Christians think that an owl’s hooting is a portent of ill luck.

Is It Bad To Hear Owls At Night?

As previously said, owls’ hooting is just an expression of their basic nature. It is all based on your beliefs as to whether it is good or bad to hear them at night.

However, owls are frequently associated with death. They are also said to be evil spirits. Most cultures see them as filthy.

Others regard them as smart and fate tellers. As we can see, different cultures and faiths have varied perspectives on these birds.

As a result, we can’t say if hearing them at night is good or bad.

An owl, however, is exactly like any other bird. They might be hooting to ward off other predators.

Any other explanation stems from personal beliefs or opinions.

Also check out this article on why owls camouflage

What Does It Mean When An Owl Visits You?

Many individuals have different theories on why an owl chooses to pay a visit to someone.

Owls are rarely seen. Therefore, many people consider it a lucky occurrence when they come into contact with one. Others see it as a bad omen though.

An owl however may pay you a visit if it has discovered a suitable campsite or territory near you.

Some people, however, hold other belief systems regarding this. Some of these beliefs include:

• Its purpose is to serve as a spirit guide. Throughout history, Greeks saw owls as a sign of triumph during times of conflict. This is due to its association with the Goddess Athena.

• Some people feel it indicates that you are about to start a new adventure in your life.

• Another intriguing interpretation is that it indicates you should let go of a relationship or attachment that is no longer beneficial to you.

• Most people consider owls to be a sign of wisdom. As a result, they feel it comes to affect you with what you require in whatever you are accomplishing.

• Some see an owl’s presence as a sign of growth.

All of these are fascinating perspectives on the significance of an owl visiting someone. Again, it varies and is dependent on personal beliefs and ideas.

Why Do We Only See Owls At Night

Most owls are nocturnal birds. That explains why we only see them at night. To put it another way, it’s like asking a colleague, “Why do I only see you during working hours?” Crazy, isn’t it?

However, not all owls are nocturnal. So, you may likely see an owl during the day as well.

Nonetheless, coming out at night is very typical for most owls. They benefit much from the darkness. And they’ve figured out how to use it as a survival mechanism.

Can Owls See In Total Darkness?

Yes, owls can see in the dark. This is one reason why they function so well at night.

Have you ever wondered why owls have such good night vision? Let me tell you something about photoreceptors.

Photoreceptors are unique cells that turn light into signals that are transmitted to the brain.

All animals have Photoreceptors known as cones and rods. Cone cells are made up of highly specialized cells that detect and permit vision.

Rod cells, on the other hand, are in charge of seeing in low-light situations.

Rod cells, which are crucial for owls’ night vision, are abundant in owls.

Owls have eyeshine as well. The tapetum lucidum produces a visual phenomenon called eyeshine. When light is shone into an animal’s eyes with tapetum lucidum, the pupils seem to glow.

Eyeshine allows photoreceptors to receive more light. As a result, they have exceptional night vision.

Can Owls See People?

Yes, they can, without a doubt. Owls can see us in the same way that they can see their prey.

They can see us better than we can see them at night because of their exceptional night vision.

These birds, however, have not proven to pose a menace to man throughout time. Although, some evidence indicates that owls have attacked humans in the past.

One time, a photographer attempted to take a picture of a specific species of owl.

Unfortunately, he lost one eye as a result of the ordeal. Obviously, the owl saw him as a threat. This experience, however, inspired him to create the novel “An eye for a bird.”

Another example was an experience of a hiker. He was attacked by an owl, which led to serious bleeding.


Owls are nocturnal animals. At night, these birds are more active. They have exceptional night vision, unlike other birds. And this makes it easy for them to search for prey so easily at night.

To various individuals, seeing an owl signifies different things. These animals aren’t something you see every day.

As a result, many civilizations and traditions have produced several myths about owls in general. Some regard them as a positive omen, while others see them as a terrible omen.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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