Archive - April, 2016

The Cedar Grove Owls

Female on nest. (1 of 1)A pair of barred owls have mated and established a nest several feet off the trail at Radnor Natural Area and Wildlife Refuge in Nashville. The nest is in a tree with a cavity about 30 feet from the ground in a shaded area. It’s difficult to see with the naked eye, but with telephoto lenses or binoculars you can see the opening and the owls moving in and out.

Several photographers (self-named “the Radnor paparazzi”) have been keeping watch. We must stay on the trail, so we peep from a distance, and now that spring foliage has blossomed, through leafy branches.

Mrs. Owl has been confined to the nest incubating the eggs until recently. I’ve read that female owls are the sole incubators. They develop a “brood patch” of sparsely covered skin in the breast area. This has a higher density of blood vessels for warming the eggs.


Male in cedar tree. (1 of 1)The male has brought the female food but he has taken his time, often resting in cedar trees not far from the nest. Because he’s so often found here, the pair has been named the “Cedar Grove Owls.”






Male in flowers (1 of 1)Recently he perched near the trail and dropped into a patch of wildflowers.






Male with snake, (1 of 1)He had found prey. When he flew up he carried a snake which he dispatched and carried, at least that part that he didn’t consume himself, to his mate.






Female leaving the nest (1 of 1)We suspect the eggs have hatched, but are not certain. Our suspicion is based on the observation that Mrs. Owl is now leaving the nest to hunt.






She doesn’t go far, but she stays out for longer time periods.






Female with vole (1 of 1)Recently she caught a vole and took it back to the nest, and then left again for more hunting.






Feamle looking out. (1 of 1)We’re anxious to see the owlets and we’re keep a watchful eye on the nest and the parents.