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Kids learn about owls at library’s ‘Creatures of the Night’ program

July 25, 2012
By MEGHAN McCOY (mmccoy@breezenewspapers.com) , Pine Island Eagle

The kids of the island were treated to a presentation about owls at the Pine Island Library Friday morning to go along with the theme of the summer reading program, "Creatures of the Night."

Although Ranger Becky Wolff from the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge could not bring real live owls to the library Friday morning, she brought plenty for the kids to see and hear during the 45-minute presentation.

The presentation began by Wolff asking the youngsters questions about owls and why she could not bring one to the library.

Article Photos

Meghan McCoy

Ranger Becky Wolff from the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge talked about the great horned owl during a special program at the Pine Island Library Friday morning that had a theme of “Creatures of the Night.”

Approximately 15 kids joined the presentation, which started off with explaining the habitat owls live in and what they need for that home - food, water, shelter and space - were the replies from the audience.

"I don't want to take animals out of their home," she told the kids.

The youngsters then listed to "Twilight Hunt," a book about owls. When the book reached a certain spot, the reading would stop, so examples could be shown of what was being discussed.

Feathers were first shown because the book described the owl's flight to be silent. Wolff explained to the kids that there are fringes on the owl's feathers that act as silencers for their wings.

This was shown through a demonstration with two sticks that acted as the owl's wings to show the kids how quiet the owl is when flying.

The owl's ear tufts were also explained. Wolff said they help the owl become camouflaged through elongating their face to blend in with its surroundings.

Many different species of owls were also discussed - the great horned owl, burrowing owls, screech owls, barn owls and snowy owls. These were discussed because of the difference between their feet.

Wolff told the kids that by looking at the owl's feet you can determine where they live. For instance, she showed the youngsters a snowy owl's foot, which had talons with feathers to keep their feet warm while digging in the snow for mice.

The eye color was discussed for the kids to understand when an owl comes out of its habitat. She said a burrowing owl has yellow eyes, which means it comes out in the early morning and early night.

The kids also learned that an owl can hear 20 times better than a human, along with having incredible eyesight. She brought a softball to the presentation to show the kids how big their eyes have to be to see as well as an owl.

The owls' eating habits was the last topic discussed during the presentation.

Wolff told the kids that an owl can swallow a whole mouse because it has two stomachs. When consumed, she said the owl enters stomach one because it acts as the trash compactor leaving behind such things as feathers and bones. The good stuff, she said, leaves the first stomach to enter the second.

Two or three days later, she said the owl throws up to empty the first stomach so it can eat more.

Once the presentation concluded, those who attended "Creatures of the Night" had the chance to make a burrowing owl mask, which was accompanied by at least one owl fact on the back that they learned from the presentation.

 
 

 

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