Tawny Owl Calling Survey

Tawny Owls by Laurence Liddy

Why we need your help

Despite Tawny Owls being our most familiar owl there's still much we have to learn about them. To do this we need as many people as possible listening for Tawny Owls from gardens or other green spaces this autumn and winter. By taking part you'll help to increase our understanding of their calling behaviour and distribution, particularly focusing on the impact of urbanisation and artificial lighting. 

We need your help, whether you usually hear Tawny Owls or not. Knowing where owls can't be heard is just as valuable as knowing where they can be heard.

It takes just 20 minutes

It's easy to take part. All you need to do is listen for Tawny Owls for 20 minutes each week, from 30 September to 31 March. The more weeks that you can listen the better - but you can do as many or as few weeks as you are able. Gaps between weeks don't matter.

You can listen for their familiar 'hooting' and 'kee-wick' calls any time between sunset and midnight. All we ask is that you tell us the date, start time of your survey, an estimate of cloud cover and importantly whether or not you hear an owl. If you hear a Tawny Owl at another time of the week outside the survey period you will also be able to record this. You record your weekly results online.

Download the


If you'd prefer to record on paper recording sheets rather than use our online system, you can - please email us at gbw [at] bto.org or call us on 01842 750050. 

What to listen out for

Don't worry if you're not confident about what to listen out for - Take a look at our Learn About Owls pages to find audio recordings and much more.