• Image of bluebells in the spring

    Cuyahoga Valley

    National Park Ohio

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • Valley Bridle Trail Partial Closure

    A section of the Valley Bridle Trail is closed across from the Brandywine Golf Course. There is no estimate of when this section will be open. Please observe all trail closures. More »

  • Plateau Trail Partial Closure

    The outer loop of the Plateau Trail is closed at the Valley Picnic Area junction for bridge repair. The bridge is now unsafe for pedestrian traffice due to accelerated erosion around the base. More »

  • Bald Eagle Closure in Effect Until July 31, 2014

    Returning bald eagles are actively tending to last year's nest within the Pinery Narrows area in CVNP. To protect the eagles from human disturbance, the area surrounding the nest tree will be closed until July 31, 2014. More »

  • Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) Bridge Construction Closures

    Rockside and Canal Visitor Center boarding sites will be closed through Apr 27. From Jan 18 - Mar 16, CVSR will operate between Akron Northside and Brecksville stations. From Mar 22 - Apr, CVSR will operate between Akron Northside and Peninsula. More »

  • Do Not Feed the Waterfowl and Birds!

    Many people enjoy feeding waterfowl and birds, but the effects of this seemingly generous act can be harmful. Regular feeding can cause: unatural behavior, pollution, overcrowding, delayed migration, and poor nutrition and disease.

  • Closure on Fishing Will Remain in Effect for Virginia Kendall Lake

    Due to the government shutdown, we were unable to survey the fish community in VK Lake as scheduled. Our survey partners (ODNR) will not be able to get into the lake until early spring of 2014. Therefore, the closure on fishing will remain in effect. More »

Natural History Topics - January

Great horned owl

Great horned owl

NPS COLLECTION

Silent Fliers of the Upland Forests
It may seem hard to believe that any bird could be at the height of its nesting season during the coldest time of year. As strange as it may seem, this is true for the owls that inhabit the Cuyahoga River upland forests.

Both the great horned owl and the barred owl can be heard in the evening, and at times seen within their nesting territories. The best time to listen for owls is early morning before dawn when they are most active. Listen for the hooting call of the great horned owl, “hoo, hoo-oo, hoo, hoo” and the "who cooks for you, who cooks for you all" of the barred owl. The screech owl has a descending wailing trill, sometimes sung as a single note.

 
Barred owl

Barred owl nesting in an evergreen tree

NPS COLLECTION

Great horned owls use existing nests of other birds and have been known to nest along the trails surrounding Happy Days Lodge. They are often referred to as “tigers of the sky” for their ability to tackle any prey their size, including other owls, and approaching with complete silence and pinpoint accuracy.

Barred owls often nest within patches of evergreen trees. Look and listen for them along the Tree Farm and Oak Hill trails.

 
Eastern screech owl

Eastern screech owl in red phase coloring

PHOTO BY by J.A. SPENDELOW

Screech owl coloring is referred to as either grey or red phase due to rusty or dark gray patterned plumage. On bright sunny days, look for them capturing the warm sunlit rays from their nesting cavities, typically in large sycamore trees. You will need to look closely, for the small owls are usually well camouflaged.


Always observe owls from a distance and stay at least 75 yards from an active nest.

 
Coyote tracks in the snow

Coyote tracks in the snow

NPS COLLECTION

Also This Month
When walking along the Tree Farm Trail, it is often possible to see wintering golden-crown kinglets and red-breasted nuthatches. This is also a great trail for finding coyote and red-squirrel tracks after it snows.

Unusual small flocks of purple finches are frequently seen along the edges of old fields and forests surrounding Oak Hill. Along the Ledges trails look for feeding pileated woodpeckers on decaying large oak trees.

 
 

Did You Know?

Water lilies in beaver marsh area of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Photo by NPS volunteer John Catalano.

Beaver in Cuyahoga Valley National Park impounded water to create a rich, diverse wetland in an area that was once an automobile junk yard? The area is now home to herons, turtles, amphibians, beavers, muskrats, otters, and many aquatic plants.