Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Friday, April 13, 2012

Owl Be Watching You...

Barred Owl (Strix varia) watching the forest floor at Radnor Lake
I always count myself lucky to see critters in their natural habitat, so, when my friends and I spotted the Barred Owl on our walk at Radnor lake earlier this week, I was really excited and pleased to get a few photos. (My Canon G12 does a good job most of the time, but, it does have a limited zoom).

 Mr/Ms Barred Owl was intently scanning the forest floor for breakfast. Poor critter those eyes are watching  for you.  I am fairly certain that had there not been a noisy audience of excited walkers, breakfast might have arrived sooner.  We surely scared away any small mammals, rabbits, birds, amphibians and reptiles that are their preferred foods.

Barred Owls are stocky, round-headed, medium-sized gray-brown owls with  no ear tufts and big dark eyes. The underparts are whitish with dark streaks, and the bill is dull yellow.  Sounds so-so,  but, they are beautiful creatures.

Radnor Lake,  with its forested bottom lands and wooded swamps offers all its resident critters the perfect hunting and nesting ground. It's a wonderful place to walk and experience wildlife up close and personal.  If you like birds, if you like waterfowl, if you want to catch otters at play, it's the place to walk.
full grown they have a 40" wingspan
Barred Owls are common residents in Middle Tennessee woodland, including  suburban neighborhoods where tracts of forest remain. Clay and Limestone 's garden and neighborhood fit the bill.  While the garden has a resident Great Horned Owl (hoo-hoo-hoo is their call), I've not seen or heard the the Barred Owl's "whooo cooks for you, whooo cooks for you" call.  I sure wish they were here, I love the idea of an owl hunting during the day and that's exactly what Barred Owls do...

So watch out chipmunks! I am recruiting owls for the garden!


**While not in my garden (dagnabbit), they are widespread in the eastern half of the United States and across central Canada to northern California. (Owl calls)

 Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone." She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.


  1. Oh what a lucky sighting, Gail, and wonderful captures in pixels. I love the thought of owls in the garden, any type. There is one across the street that I can hear sometimes. Must listen carefully to identify the call.

  2. Wow. You must have been really stealth to grab such an amazing shot. And I love the heron too. I'm amazed that your trees are all leafed out. Ours are either just emerging or still dormant.

  3. Lovely pics! Your chipmunk looks so different than my chipmunks (Ontario, Canada). I must look up the variations.

  4. Could the owl even carry that chipmunk away?

    Lovely captures. We've had Barred Owls here always (except for this past winter when a pair of Great Horned moved in for a few months) and although we often here them I've never gotten a picture. I never know when I'm going to see one.

  5. Oh! Awesome photos! We have at least three species of owl here on the property, but we have so many darned trees I rarely see them...and never when I have my camera handy! Nice catch!

  6. Love owls! Hope you successfully recruit the Barred Owls. Do they like nesting boxes?

  7. Dear Gail, I love this post. The photo with the heron is fabulous but all are great. What a treat to see a Barred Owl. Good luck recruiting them to your garden. Have a lovely weekend. Carol

  8. They're beautiful! Lucky you capturing this one on camera. Radnor Lake looks like a gorgeous place for a walk.

    We have Great Horned Owls around here. We hear them a lot at night, and occasionally can see their shadowy figures in the trees. I hope they've gotten rid of the voles - haven't seen one lately.

    Have a wonderful weekend, Gail!

  9. Wow! That is so cool! The other night when my husband and I were on our way home from a local restaurant, as we were passing a farmer's field, an owl flew out of the fog, and along the road a little ways, and then back into the fog and the darkness. It was eerie.

  10. What a lucky find. Your photos are beautiful especially of the Great Blue Heron at the edge of the pond. Have a great weekend.

  11. Love the owls and that shot of the heron is amazing...that's a real winner Gail!!

  12. lucky you to see this beautiful bird (and catch a pretty darn good photo). I was lucky enough once to see a barred owl on a walk and it was absolutely captivating. Those huge eyes are something else, especially when they look right at you.


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson