Archived Story

Cleveland County; some fine spring birding

Published 2:50pm Friday, March 22, 2013

The Barn Owl is found throughout the world. It is widely distributed in both tropical and temperate regions and within this wide range the Barn Owl has had a long history of relationships with humans. In England Barn Owls are associated with churchyards and in the Netherlands these valuable birds are encouraged to nest in farms and orchards to help keep the rodent population under control.  Despite this ancient connection with man, the Barn Owl is declining within the United States and worldwide. Much of this is connected with the removal of dead trees, old barns and other suitable nesting sites. However, good populations of these birds still exist in certain parts of the Carolinas, such as Cleveland County and other mostly rural areas.  Small numbers of this highly distinctive owl are even found here in Henderson County, as well as other areas of North Carolina, although their current stronghold may be the old cotton growing areas of the state.

To even get a brief glimpse of these beautiful owls was a bonus. It was certainly a great early spring day in the Piedmont!

Simon Thompson has lived in WNC for the past 20 years. He owns and operates his own birding tour company, Ventures Birding Tours.

He and Chris also own and operate the Asheville Wild Birds Unlimited Store. For more information on any of the birding activities in the area, drop by the store or check his website at

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