About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Why is that Bird Singing at Night?

I shop at the East Lansing store. Every night at around 11pm I'm hearing a Mourning Dove singing. Does it have insomnia? It seems like this happened for a few weeks around last Christmas too.
In the winter the Mourning Dove is generally a sound sleeper and settles in for the night at dusk. Could the call you heard be from the Great Horned Owl? On bright moonlit nights in December in Michigan the hooting of the horned owls marks the beginning of their mating season. The males show their physical vigor and vitality by hooting for a few weeks to attract females and deter any other encroaching males.

Of course it was an owl! Now that you say that, I totally knew that. We live in the city and I just wasn't thinking owl. Thanks for your help! I feel so stupid.

No problem. I'm glad I could help. Send in a question any time. You probably weren't the only person wondering about the bird. If you want to learn more bird songs I recommend Stan Tekiela's Birds of Michigan book & CD set.
The Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus measures approximately 18-25 inches in length and has a wingspan of approximately 36-60 inches from tip to tip.

These birds prefer to utilize the nests of other birds such as hawks, crows and herons in January and February when they breed.

After a mate is chosen they bow to each other, with drooped wings, rub noses and preen each other. If all goes according to plan the female will lay 2 to 4 eggs and incubate them for 26-36 days. Six weeks after hatching, the owlets become "branchers" when they start to walk in the trees around the nest.

They cannot fly well until 9 to 10 weeks old. Then the parents show them around and teach them how to survive. In autumn the juveniles disperse widely, while the adults return to the area near their breeding grounds. They'll each maintain solitary existances until the next nesting season.