Raptors Enthrall West Bloomfield Families

A close-up photograph of a Barred Owl taken indoors. The owl, with large brown eyes, a yellow beak, and brown-and-white-striped plumage, looks at the camera.

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The first snows of the season came early this year, adding majestic beauty to the woods of Oakland County. Walk quietly in woodlands at dusk and the rhythmic music of our “eight hooter,” the Barred Owl, may enliven your journey into nature’s way with its unique musical repertoire. It’s perhaps best described as mournful, rather rhythmic eight-hoot baritone melody of “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for y’all?” Sharp listeners will note the distinctive ending, a drawled-out note that is sometimes described as a southern twang. I am lucky, for every now and then I hear and see Barred Owls just a few hundred yards from my house. However, on Tuesday evening I had the pleasure of going eye to eye with a Barred Owl, and other species of raptors, from within the comfort of the Marshbank Lodge, a beautiful facility of West Bloomfield Parks located within Marshbank Park, an easy to access 108-acre park in a suburban neighborhood of the Wilder Side of Oakland County.

A barred owl, sits perched on branch on a snowy, winter day. It has brown-and-white-striped plumage and its eyes are closed. Continue reading

West Bloomfield Woods: Natural, Wild and Free

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

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“Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher ‘standard of living’ is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free.” Aldo Leopold, 1948. His words hold equally true today for those that cherish the West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve, a 162 acre, heavily wooded natural gem nestled between hills and palatial homes in highly developed, suburban West Bloomfield Township. The heron rookery that drew so much attention and praise in the 1990s is gone, and now exists just in old photos and memories. Jennifer Tucker, the new Executive Director of West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation, is correct when she states, “The West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve is our own little bit of Up North right here in West Bloomfield. We are very lucky to have a place that our patrons can get active in and enjoy right here in their community.” Thousands would agree with her. Continue reading