Best time to hear Coyotes, Wolves, and Owls?

Animals and birds are typically quiet except around their breeding season, within family groups, or in defense of their nest or territory. More social animals, like wolves, can often be heard as they use calling to keep in touch and communicate with others in the pack throughout the year. But the peak time to hear wolves howling is still in the breeding season.

The breeding season for coyotes, wolves, and owls is generally in the time frame of January through February, although I have often heard them starting from November. At this time they will vocalize more freely. As far as I know, the breeding season is the same time no mater if you are in the southern or northern states. If you know differently, please leave a comment. At this time, these animals will be very responsive to call broadcasting, and thus, this is the time frame that population censuses are conducted on these animals. Typically, a researcher will broadcast the common call of the bird or animal with loudspeakers, and listens for the number of responses throughout a planned course of travel, calling about every quarter mile or so. You can try to imitate the calls with your own voice and many times get a response. Be aware, that coyotes and wolves may run to you location to fend off a potential intruder in their territory. The best time to hear these animals vocalize naturally is after sunset, since there are nocturnal. I found the most common time to hear them are starting about a half hour after sunset until a few hours after sunset.

The next time, of the year, it is common to hear coyotes, wolves, and owls is when the young start to move about, during the months of May through July for owls, and April through August for coyotes and wolves. At this time, the young accompany the parents to learn hunting. Young owls often screech more than use the typical call for many months.

I should note, that with coyotes, there is a distinct difference between the Western and Eastern states in the way they vocalize. In the Western states it is much more common to hear coyotes throughout the year. Coyotes in the Eastern states are much less vocal. The theory is that the higher density of people, and domestic dogs in the Eastern states have caused the coyotes living there to be less vocal.

Go out and take some walks during the darkness and experience the calls of coyotes, wolves, and owls. It can be spine tingling spooky to hear a pack of coyotes or wolves, but an almost friendly reminder that others roam the darkness. My favorite owl is the Barred Owl, which is known for a vast repertoire of vocalizations from hoots, screams, whistles, and cackles.


2 thoughts on “Best time to hear Coyotes, Wolves, and Owls?”

  1. was just commenting on this in a note I left on an order I just submitted. I was going to suggest Wolf Park, if its still there for wolf sounds in the winter. Its a research place first and foremost, and they invite people to come up and help them with the count every year, as well as the other work. Forget if it’s in IN or IL, but a google search would surely turn it up if you were interested.

    My favorite strigidae family owl is the charming little saw whet, but my heart belongs to the tytos, especially our beautiful, white barn owl. Our clicking, hissing,screaming-fit-to-make-your-hair-fall-out barn owl. Love those inscrutable solid-black eyes.

    However, neither of these are any good for recording and listening. You need a big old booming horned or great grey owl for that. Will you please make a CD that’s all owls? I know your secret reason why you haven’t yet: squatting behind a bush all night is tough enough without adding cold wind and perhaps a wet bottom into the equation. well, suck it up, Nature Guy!!! Just imagine the satisfaction you’d feel presenting a CD of all owls, . . . You’d have to have your favorite, then one that’s all screechies cooing to each other across a crowded pasture–those two you could probably collect in good weather, but you might have to suffer a bit for the great horned and great grey. I’m not too familiar with the saw whet’s mating calls, but I know they favor better weather and tend to fly south-ish in the winter, so maybe that one might not be so painful…
    Which one’s the “Who-cooks-for-you?-Who?-Who?” owl? Is that your barred?
    Anyway, living in hope (of that CD!)


    P.S. : remember, foxes also mate when the owls do–and unless I’m quite wrong, they have a much larger fan club out there than the coyote, due to being less harmful, much less aggressive toward humans and their animals, and just SO darned cute. In fact, when spending time in the wild, the biggest problem with foxes is often getting them to leave you alone and go back to acting like wild animals (goofy things). But they make really interesting yammering and whining noises when ‘in the mood’. Woud certainly liven up a Winter recording. In fact foxes and barn owls together would sound like the sound track to a Hieronymus Bosch painting-probably not the best combo!-M

  2. Yes Melissa, the Barred Owl calls with the “Who cooks for you”. Finding Owls in quiet locations at the right time is the problem. I will keep you idea in mind for future albums.

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