Posts Tagged ‘Owls’

“Owls, babies….

March 4, 2018




owls, baby 2

(unfinished painting of baby owls by the author)

Haibun posted for

Almost every evening we hear owls…hoot owls, barred owls, who know what lurks out there.  Spring is when you hear the symphony of warble.

I remember years ago , when I first heard an owl very near the chicken coop.  I grabbed a rake and ran into the  coop with the hens.  I had no idea what monster lurked outside in the trees.  Turns out it was a hoot owl…6 inches high.  I stood guard for an hour.

In the spring you look for the songbirds, sitting on tender branches with tight little buds, unfurled yet, but soon to be colorful and scented.

The season of rebirth, the season of hope is contained in each bud.  It brings expectation to the heart.


Wildlife creeps in

Coyotes bark, owls hoot

We share the landscape





Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018

“The Dark Leans In”….a new poem

April 9, 2014



April is Poetry Month.  Last night, late last night, I heard the hooting of a wood owl and earlier the cries of mourning doves.  The imagination catches fire when you are alone and it is dark.  This poem is wet behind the ears and will be reworked.

Lady Nyo

“The night belongs to other species”….this line came true just last night!~  I was outside, late, calling in two stubborn cats.  I had a cat food can that I was tripping the lid piece, thumping it loudly. It usually works.  The cats made their way up the walk but so did a full grown opossum, not at all afraid of me as he quickly moved up the brick walk to the stoop.  I was scared and yelled at him (her?) and threw the can of catfood at him, missed, and he took a sharp right to where the door of the cat room is.  Apparently he is familiar with our house!  My cats just acted like he was a ‘weird cousin’ and finally came in.  Didn’t see the possum this morning but I bet he will be back.  We are three miles frm downtown Atlanta, an urban area and this shows me  our razing of trees and our  ‘development’ brings these critters right into our lives.  It makes it clearer  we only share this planet, and in our arrogance we think we are the dominant species. We need to make right  for habitat we have destroyed.


The Dark Leans In


The dark leaned in, cool and necessary

The wind quieted the

hambone frenzy of wind chimes;

they ceased their cacophony,

the birds this spring night

tested their dusk calls,

unsure of voices muted

by the silence of the past winter.


Off in the distance a lone train whistle

perhaps the last train home

Before night blackened the earth.


Out in the country

A hand before a face was not there

Until the arising of a fat enough moon.


How silent the night!

Given over to owl hoots,

Mourning doves

And the rustle of something

In the tall weeds,

Something mysterious

But probably not.


The night is the territory of creatures

With night vision and silent flights

Of owls with upturned ends of wings,

Silent, silent, deadly drones

With red eyes like spooks

And talons like razors.


A banshee scream of prey

raises the hair on my arms.


No man walks about the dark,

No one would without some primordial fear

Knowing what is given by nature is not

On par with the lowliness creature of this dark.


Only the slight babble of the brook,

The brook that fears no rocks

Or fallen limbs or anything except drought

Makes the link to daylight where we

Are sure of our place, our courage renewed.


The night belongs to other species

As the dark leans in, cool and necessary

The wind picks up and rattles leaves beneath our feet

And we turn our steps towards a world

Of less mystery.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014











Autumn Tanka…..

October 16, 2013
"North Carolina Stream", watercolor, janekohut-bartels, 2008

“North Carolina Stream”, watercolor, janekohut-bartels, 2008

Autumn colors from my bathroom window today

Autumn colors from my bathroom window today

My beautiful picture


Barn Owl, J. Kohut-Bartels, 1999, watercolor

Barn Owl, J. Kohut-Bartels, 1999, watercolor

It’s just beginning to be Autumn here in the southern US, and I can’t resist the season.  It’s one of my favorite and there is something different in the air, the smell of wood smoke already, though the temps don’t make sense for this.  Perhaps some homeowner is clearing a plot of land, but the smell makes me dizzy with anticipation.  The wind chimes have been ajangle over the past few nights, and the north winds are becoming more active.  Every so often, there are whirlpools of leaves, gathered up in the street and dancing like dervishes.  The real fall will come, with soggy rains and denuded trees but perhaps this season makes us feel alive: there is so much natural activity after a slow and sullen summer.  The miracle of the trees changing, the clouds overhead, gray leaden expanses that turn golden underneath at dusk, the cast of light so different from the season before. Yesterday I  saw two  low flying Canada geeze go honking right over my head and they startled me.  Soon we will see the formations of Sandhill Cranes as they migrate south.  You hear them a long time before you see them far up in the moddled sky.

In the midst of posting chapters from “Tin Hinan” I came across some fall tankas I had included in “White Cranes of Heaven”.  This, with what was going on outside, was enough to change course on this blog right now.  I’ll get back to the next chapter of “Tin Hinan” but right now there is a squirrel in the bird feeder and I saw a yellow fox in the dying kudzu out back.  Last night I heard two very mournful owls in the trees behind the house.  Enough to turn my thoughts to a favorite season.

Lady Nyo

I look up at blue

Sky this morning, watch leaves fall-

Whirling, colored tears.

Clip my face like dull razors,

The strokings of memory.

Is the whistling

Of the wind- a train, a plane?

Nature plays fiddle

And our senses are confused,

We dwell in chicanery!

Shooting star crosses

Upended bowl of blue night


Fires up with excited gaze!

A moment– and all is gone.

This grim November,

The month of my father’s death

Always bittersweet.

My memories float, weak ghosts-

Haunting in the fog of life.


So lonely am I

My soul like a floating weed

Severed at the roots

Drifting upon cold waters

No pillow for further dreams.


A late Summer moon

Floats above the conifers.

Autumn is coming.

Do pines know the season turns?

Their leaves don’t fall; do they care?


Come into my arms.

Bury under the warm quilt.

Your scent makes me drunk

Like the wine we gulped last night.

Too much lust and drink to think.

When Autumn enters

Inexplicable sadness.

Season fades to death.

Hunter’s moon sits in Heaven–

Garden spiders finish, die.

Autumn wind startles–

Lowered to an ominous

Key—Ah! Mournful sounds!

The fat mountain deer listen-

Add their bellowing sorrow.

Out with the gold fish,

The bullfrogs croak their sorrow.

Summer is passing

Autumn brings sharp, brittle winds

But Winter is the cruelest.

Like the lithe bowing

Of a red maple sapling

My heart turns to you,

Yearns for those nights long ago

When pale skin challenged the moon.

Overhead, the cranes,

Sandhills, swirl in board circles.

Broken GPS?

No matter, their cries fall down

Celestial chiding rain.


To end this  with a simple poem, not a tanka.


Autumn night winds

Hiss over the land

Round corners

And pulse under eaves.

Clashing wind chimes add sharp discord

As bare branches answer with a grating groan.

Above all,

The moon casts a feeble light

Too thin to fatten the road. 

(this poem from “White Cranes of Heaven”, published by, 2011)

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011-2013



Freaky Owl…..

September 26, 2010

Barn Owl, J. Kohut-Bartels, 1999, watercolor

Tonight I heard something really strange.  Close enough to draw my attention.  Downright scary in fact.

I went outside,  remembering I hadn’t closed up the chicken coop (I have 11 girls in there, but only counted 10 tonight) and heard this sound in the back fields of kudzu.  There used to be a stand of 9 acres of forest, but the stupid city of Atlanta sold off this property to a California development company who  came in two years ago and ripped up most of the trees.  We were lucky they left the huge oaks on one side, and some pines and oaks on the other side.  In the middle grew kudzu, the Japanese import that covers everything standing still in the South.

Ok, I admit to being  really scared.  This was an unearthly sound and something I haven’t heard  quite like that before.   I took a flashlight, grabbed a stick and walked towards the hen house.  What I was going to do with the  stick I hadn’t  a clue, but I was prepared.

It was loud.  I wondered  whether it was a dying dog, racoon, something out  there.  I closed the hens in and listened.  Whatever it was it was really close.

(I confess:  I closed myself in with the hens for a few moments, because they were restless, and I thought I was safer with my girls.  Whatever was out there was very near.  And must be Big.)

I finally decided it was an owl, had to be.  What kind of owl I didn’t have a clue, so I came back in, (the bird still hooting) and spent an hour on the internet listening to all the different kinds of owl sounds.  The closest I could come to was a Barred Owl.  But I wouldn’t want to be a hen around one.  I have read owls will raid a chicken coop, then kill all the hens for fun.  They will eat their fill, but they are chicken killers just because roosting hens are sleepy and don’t move much.  They are pretty torpid on the roost.

I can still hear it hooting away, but it won’t  get chicken on the hoof tonight.  This will teach me to close up the hens each night.  A few years ago, neighborhood dogs got under the fence and killed 12 of our 18 hens roosting.  It was a horrible thing to confront at 4am in the rain.  We were burying hens for days as they died.

I have a painting I did back in ’99 of an Owl….one of my favorite paintings.  It was when  I went from oils to watercolor and fell in love with the medium.  I’m pretty sure this painting is of a Barn Owl, not a Barred Owl.

Funny, the city of Atlanta is 3 miles away and one wouldn’t think that owls, hawks and peregrines would be flying around.  But what happens as humans take over fields, land, and develop housing, birds  adapt and find their hunting and nesting territory where they can.  Humans with their trash bring birds looking for rats and other small animals and birds of prey help with that issue.

If I can I’m going to post the audio file I found that sounded pretty much  what I was hearing outside tonight.  It was the sound of a Barred Owl, not a Great Horned Owl.

In any case, it’s a good introduction to Fall, and possibilities  of this season.  A full moon tonight, and great expectations of further mysteries.

Lady Nyo

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