Astronomy Adventures in Oakland County

Summer is the perfect time for adventures and discovery! In Oakland County, the night sky presents a constant source of wonder and awe. There are many fun ways to delve a little deeper into the world of astronomy because the county is well equipped with observatories, planetariums, and astronomy clubs.

Find the best places in and around Oakland County to view the stars with our interactive star gazing map and grab a telescope to observe the worlds above us. Check out the cavernous craters of the Moon, the massive mountains nestled on Mars, or the rings on Saturn radiating light into the night sky. The possibilities for discovery are endless.

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Barred Owls: Ghostly Voice of the Swamp

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“Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?” That’s the classic ghostly call of the Barred Owl, an owl very much at home in Oakland County. The rising and falling melody with a hint of a southern drawl in the last few syllables reminds naturalists that the owl’s breeding season is here. Yet, others less admiring of the raucous chorus of barred owls hooting back and forth may describe the sounds as the music of a troop of rowdy monkeys. That description  is very close to the truth.

Follow the Cornell Lab of Ornithology link to hear the calls of barred owls: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/search/?q=barred%20owl%20soundsowl/sounds 

Every now and then, a hiker might hear or even see a barred owl perched on a tree limb in daylight. Oakland County Parks, Huron-Clinton Metroparks and the State Recreation Areas of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (located in Oakland County) all host these beautiful raptors of the night. Barred owls favor wooded wetlands with nearby open areas for hunting; that means trailside swaths of Addison Oaks, Highland Oaks, Independence Oaks, Lyon Oaks, Rose Oaks and Springfield Oaks county parks are perfect barred owl habitats.img_9847

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A Head Start Program for Turtles

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The Detroit Zoo (located in Royal Oak) is 90 miles south of the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw County.  But for 27 young Blanding’s turtles that slid from warm human hands into the cool duckweed-coated backwaters of the Shiawassee at the end of August, that journey to freedom took two years. These turtles were saved from near certain consumption by raccoons when they were still yummy munchies in their eggs. Multiple agencies worked on the project, a reminder to all who appreciate the wilder side of nature that all things are connected.

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