Photos: Revisiting Wapanocca NWR

I used to visit Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge each year when I visited my aunt living in Marion. I loved visiting the refuge; however, those visits slowly stopped after my aunt moved, first, to Jonesboro, then to Little Rock to live with me.

On Saturday, I was in the area so I made a pit stop. It was a good visit. Here are some highlights:

Photos: Barn Owls

The Barn owl has always been one of the top birds that I wanted to see in Arkansas. I finally got the chance yesterday. A birder was gracious enough to take me out to the barn where this pair roosts and nests. They have actually called this barn home for years.

My Dad said a pair of Barn Owls used to nest in a family barn when he was growing up, and he and his siblings used to talk about going to the barn to see the pair and their young. I think hearing those stories is one of the reasons I always wanted to see one myself.

Barn Owls are native to the United States and can be found across the nation. However, it is not common to see one. They hunt at night and sleep during the day. Plus, in some parts of the nation, their numbers are declining due to habitat loss. They require large areas of open land to hunt in – whether it is marsh, grasslands or mixed agricultural fields, according to AllAboutBirds.org. They nest and roost in quiet cavities such as in tress or man-made structures like this barn.

According to AllAboutBirds.org, the Northern American Barn Owl is the largest of the 46 difference races of the Barn Owl found worldwide. The North American Barn Owl weighs more than twice as much as the smallest race from the Galápagos Islands. In the photos, the darker, larger owl is the female. The females tend to be more reddish with more spots on its chest.