Friday, January 20, 2012

An OWL visit!!

As we are studying birds in our current vertebrate study, we decided to try to find a real bird. This gives the children a concrete experience with the animal and is so much richer than looking at a picture. We had Leslie Science and Nature Center bring an owl to the classroom today. This owl was a female Eastern Screech Owl. She has a broken wing and is being cared for at the center.
Sara, our guide led us through many features of owls and the children had many questions. Here are some things we learned...
Owls have big eyes, if they had a head our size, the eyes would be as big as tennis balls.
They are brown because they want to blend into their environment, this is called camouflage.
They cannot move their eyes, instead they move their head. Luckily, she turned her head backwards at that moment!
The little tufts that look like ears are not actually ears. Instead the dark line that runs around the side of their face is where their ears are.
The wings of an owl make no sound. This is so the critters they are hunting cannot hear them. To demonstrate this idea, our guide had us close our eyes as she waved an owl wing then one single turkey feather. The owl wing made no noise. The turkey feather did! She then passed these around so the children could feel them. The owl wing was very light and soft. Luckily, we just gave a lesson on how to hold something fragile. The children were very careful.
Owls don't usually build nests. They find a hole in a tree or somewhere safe with a lot of food available.
This type of owl lays up to five eggs at a time, they are very small and are off white with brownish spots.

Yesterday afternoon we read "Owls" by Gail Gibbons to the afternoon children. They had a few questions and many comments about owls!
This was a wonderful experience for all of us. We learned so much and the owl was very cute!

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