On a recent crisp waxing gibbous moonlit evening, nearly 50 children and their caregivers attended Citizens for Conservation's Owl Prowl class. Dawn Keller of Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation along with three educational owls assisted in the evening's lesson.
Participants first learned about Meepy, the barred owl, and Pip, the barn owl. Keller discussed their favorite foods, how owls have silent flight, weight, wing span, and more.
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When it came time to play the call of a barn owl to attract a wild owl, adults and children expected a soft hoo-hoo, but they were taken aback and stiffened when the tape played a hair-raising and nightmarish shrill.
Realizing that a wild barn owl would not appear, participants began the half-mile hike to the nearly 200-year-old oak trees. Along the trail, Justice, the great-horned owl, greeted the group. Keller explained that the horns are really tufts of feather that look like horns and that the feet of owls are covered in feathers.
Once Justice was safe in his crate, everyone arrived at the old oaks; they extinguished flashlights, and everyone was quiet as a mouse. Keller tried to attract a wild great-horned owl. Unfortunately, after several tries while everyone scanned the starlit skies,
no owls appeared.
By now, everyone was ready for a warm cup of hot chocolate and the children were eager to decorate their personal owl masks. Then each child had his photo taken with his favorite owl.
For information on Citizens for Conservation's upcoming Youth Education classes, (847) 382-7283, visit citizensforconservation.org/youth-education or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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