In the late fall of 2001 the River Parkway Trust hosted a dinner and night hike for some friends of the Parkway. After dessert was served, each attendee was handed a flashlight for the hike out to a property along the river which was then owned by Patt Rank.
To enhance the hiking experience, former Executive Director Dave Koehler made a tape of some common owl calls – Great Horned, Screech, and Barn Owls – and took a tape player along on the hike. When the group arrived at Patt’s property, there was an eerie fog that hovered over the ground just about waist high. As the group walked around, the participants could only see each other's bodies from the waist up. Dave recalls thinking they must be in a filming of an episode of the television show the X-Files.
Dave gathered the group near the river bank and pressed play on the tape of owl calls. All three species of owls called back, especially the Great Horned. First the birds called from across the river on Rank Island, and soon two owls landed in the oaks right above the heads of the hikers.
“It was pretty fun and exciting, especially because I had no idea it would work,”
A few years later, Patt Rank gave the River Parkway Trust the opportunity to buy the property. Remembering the evening walking around the site in the eerie fog with the owls calling, Dave thought Owl Hollow was a fitting name.
Years later, the Trust hosted an overnight canoe trip to Owl Hollow as part of the Parties for the Parkway program. Dave brought out his trusty tape player to wow the party guests. The guests gathered together beneath the oak trees. There was a great sense of anticipation among the group. Dave pressed play.
“Great Horned Owl,”
a woman’s voice said loudly through the speakers. Everyone laughed. Soon the tape starting playing the call of a Great Horned Owl.
A pair of Great Horned Owls flew in and landed in an oak tree near the property gate. The pair of owls stayed and called to each other through the night.
The River Parkway Trust is constructing some improvements on the Owl Hollow property. We look forward to celebrating the completion of the project in 2019 with you - and perhaps a few owls.