A Nesting Great Horned Owl
Visitors to Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory’s Telescope Nights will often hear the haunting calls of a great horned owl echoing through the valleys surrounding the observatory’s property. Over the past decade, a great horned owl has called one of our nearby oak trees home a handful of times, making a nest and hatching at least one chick during the winter and early spring months of 2019. In fact, the great horned owl is known to be one of the earliest nesting birds in North America. Contrary to popular belief, the “horns” are not actually ears. Like other owls, their ears are located on the sides of their head. Not apparent here are the gorgeous yellow eyes that give this owl species a very striking appearance.
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Tucked up among the wooded hilltops of northern Brentwood, Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory is considered by many to be a hidden treasure of the area. Visitors to our satellite campus not only learn about some of the cutting-edge discoveries and science in astronomy but they also get a dose of nature, history, and many other things while here. Over the years, we at Dyer Observatory have made the preservation of our facility and grounds a key mission. Preservation not only entails things such as maintaining our telescopes — it also includes keeping a record of days passed. Since 1953, we have amassed a number of interesting images, pieces of equipment, and ephemera. Every day tends to bring new surprises. In continuing our tradition of public education and outreach, Stellar Finds regularly provides an image and description of the diverse paraphernalia associated with Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory and the history of astronomy at Vanderbilt University.