Many owls begin nesting in late winter. Now is the ideal time to listen for them calling at night if you have an older pine stand or deciduous woods nearby. Owls will call all night, but the first hour of dark and the last hour before sunrise are the best times to listen.
Great horned owls prefer larger, older woods near field edges where they can use their perch-and-drop style of hunting to catch rabbits and other mammals. They often call just at dusk and dawn.
Barred owls prefer older woods with an open understory and wet woods, especially along rivers and streams and in swamps. They will call any time during the night and quite often on cloudy afternoons.
Eastern and western screech-owls are opportunistic and adaptable, sometimes nesting in suburban neighborhoods and even cities. Generally quiet between March and June, they will readily answer imitations of their calls.