A self-guided ½ mile easy-to-moderate trail with a nice combination of upland and bottomland terrain. 

Below are select wild animal and plant species that may be found on Hoot Owl trail. Because most of the birds and animals that live on the Heard Wildlife Sanctuary have access to the entire preserve, there is no assurance that you will see any or all of the various species during each visit.

Common Name

Scientific Name


Where (Location)


*Downy Woodpecker

Picoides pubescens

Abundant , all year long


*Red Bellied Woodpecker

Melanerpes carolinus

Abundant , all year long

Forest/Forest Edge

Tufted Titmouse

Baeolophus bicolor

Abundant , all year long


Carolina Chickadee

Poecile carolinensis

Abundant , all year long


Carolina Wren

Thryothorus ludovicianus

Abundant , all year long

Forest Edge

*Northern Cardinal

Cardinalis cardinalis

Abundant , all year long

Forest Edge

Blue Jay

Cyanocitta cristata

Abundant , all year long

Forest Edge

Eastern Blue Bird

Sialia sialis

Abundant , all year long

Hill top prairie

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Archilochus colubris

Common in summer

Hill top prairie

Loggerhead Shrike

Lanius ludovicianus

Uncommon in spring and fall, occasionally in summer

Hill top prairie

*Great Horned Owl /Hoot Owl/ Tiger Owl

Bubo virginianus

Rare in summer (at night)

Forest/Forest Edge

Barred Owl

Strix varia

Common in spring, uncommon in winter (at night)


Red-Shoulder Hawk

Buteo lineatus

Abundant , all year long


White Crowned Sparrow

Zonotrichia leucophrys

Common in winter, uncommon in spring and fall

Forest Edge

White Throated Sparrow

Zonotrichia albicollis

Abundant in winter and spring, common in fall

Forest Edge

Painted Bunting

Passerina ciris

Abundant in summer, common in spring

Hill top prairie

Indigo Bunting

Passerina cyanea

Abundant in summer, common in spring and fall

Forest Edge

White-eyed Vireo

Vireo griseus

Abundant in summer and spring, common in fall

Forest Edge

Red-eyed Vireo

Vireo olivaceus

Abundant in summer, common in spring




Dasypus novemcinctus

Common, they have poor eyesight but a keen sense of smell and long claws for digging around the forest floor in search of food.

*Eastern Cottontail

Sylvilagus floridanus

Common, Its habitat includes open grassy areas

*Fox Squirrel

Sciurus niger

Abundant, watch on the trees

White-tailed Deer

Odocoileus virginianus

Occasionally in winter, in open forest stands with little understory vegetation


Procyon lotor

Occasionally around the forest. Tree hollows in old oaks or other trees and rock crevices are preferred by raccoons as sleeping, winter and litter dens.


*Broad-headed Skink

Plestiodon laticeps

Forest areas with abundant leaf litter, especially oak forests.


Five-lined skink

Plestiodon fasciatus

Hilltop area, They prefer moist, partially wooded habitat,

They can be found in broken, rocky areas at the edge of their habitat.

Texas spotted whiptail

/Spotted Whiptail Lizard

Cnemidophorus gularis

Hilltop area, common on rocky terrain and sandy soil where there is a sparse covering of shrubs and trees.

Northern Fence Lizard /Prairie Lizard

Sceloporus undulatus

Hilltop area,


Agkistrodon contortrix

Un-common, venomous, favors deciduous forest and mixed woodlands. During the winter it hibernates in dens, in limestone crevices,

Prairie Ring-necked Snake

Diadophis punctatus arnyi

Lives in or near prairies and can often be found sunbathing or slithering out in the open, under old logs, rocks, pieces of wood and sheets of tin.

*Rough Green Snake

Opheodrys aestivus

Meadows and woodlands, It is highly arboreal, frequently found climbing in low vegetation,

The rough green snake is docile, often allowing close approach by humans, and seldom bites.

Selected Plant Species of Hoot Owl Trail

Common Name

Scientific Name



Bur Oak

Quercus macrocarpa

On the Bottomland area, growing up to 100 ft. in height, and is one of the most massive oaks with a trunk diameter of up to 10 ft.; commonly lives to be 200 to 300 years old, and may live up to 400 years old , look for a giant Bur Oak tree located on the floodplain

Black Walnut

Juglans nigra

A large deciduous tree attaining heights of 98–130 ft.

Green Ash

Fraxinus pennsylvanica

Native, a medium-sized deciduous tree reaching 35–75 ft.

Bois D’Arc

Maclura pomifera


A beautiful tree with curved branches, its fruit is a large, spherical, green (4" to 5" in diameter) resembling a green, wrinkled orange. Common names for the fruit are "horse apple" and "hedge apple."

Texas Red Oak

Quercus buckleyi

A threatened species (vulnerable)on the upland area around the hill top, endemic to the southern Great Plains of the United States. Texas red oak usually is 30 to 50 ft. tall.

In autumn the leaves turn vivid red and orange.

Cedar Elm

Ulmus crassifolia

A medium-sized to large deciduous tree growing to 75-80 ft. tall with a rounded crown. Leaf fall is late in the year, often in early winter.


Green Dragon

Arisaema dracontium


Blooming in April and June, with numerous tiny white flowers crowded onto the 6-inch-long flower stem. Orange-red berries follow.

Trout Lily

Erythronium albidum

Blooming in mid-February and march, a small herbaceous native plant (4-6 inch tall). The white bell-shaped flowers (1-2 in. long) are bent downward. Leaves are green mottled with purple and make an attractive ground cover. Look for them in large groups on the forest floor.

Missouri Violet

Viola missouriensis

Blooming from February to April, Violets are a sign that spring has arrived, White/ Purple flowers,

Wild Petunia

Ruellia humilis

Blooming from April to October, a native plant with purple flower,

Some of the species are known or suspected to be poisonous.

Arkansas Yucca

Yucca arkansana

Blooming in May and October, look for this native plant on Hill top prairie. Leaves from the base, sharp pointed, with curly white fibers on the margins. Flower stalk erect, 6-7 ft., grows in gravelly,

Standing Cypress

Ipomopsis rubra

Blooming from May to July, look for them on Hill Top prairie. The stiff stem of this biennial can reach 6 ft. Showy, red flowers. Standing cypress attracts hummingbirds.

Prairie Verbena

Glandularia bipinnatifida

Blooming from March to October, look for this herbaceous native plant on Hill Top prairie. This flowering plant often forms brilliant displays of pink or light purple.

Gay Feather

Liatris spicata

Blooming from July to September, look for them on Hill Top prairie. An erect, slender perennial reaching a height of 3-4 ft. The purple, tufted flower heads are arranged in a long, dense spike blooming from the top down.

Purple Coneflower

Echinacea purpurea

Blooming from April to September, with purple flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Please do not pick flowers or any other plant parts. This will also help you avoid possible contact with poison ivy!