I’m still busy annotating maps for upcoming Bonniwell-related blog posts. So instead of my planned Gold Rush themed Monday: Map Day! essay, I hope you enjoy this Clark-era image of a common visitor to much of North and South America—including Wisconsin—the Great Horned Owl.

Havell, Robert, jr., engraver, after John James Audubon, Great Horned Owl, 1829, plate 62 from The Birds of America (1828-1838), hand-colored engraving and aquatint on Whatman wove paper. National Gallery of Art, Gift of Mrs. Walter B. James. Public domain. Click to open larger image in new window.

Still heard in Wisconsin woods, fields…and suburbs

I’ve never seen a Great Horned Owl in the wild with my own eyes; they are incredibly elusive by day and completely silent in flight. But I have heard their distinctive nocturnal calls several times this spring and summer. It’s a grand and very “wild” noise. When several owls get to calling back and forth the effect is memorable, even a bit eerie. I wonder what the Clark children thought when they heard these great birds resonantly hooting back and forth in the deep Mequon woods all night long?

In any case, it pleases me that they are still here and that their call is still heard in our state.

For more info on these or any other North American birds, my first recommendation is the Cornell Ornithology Lab’s All About Birds website; here’s the link to their Great Horned Owl page. Be sure to click the “Listen” button near the top of that page for an audio sample of the owl’s call.

I’ll be back soon with more Clark House history. See you then.

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