| Apr 12, 2019
Prowlin' for Owls
Two educators teaching with Screech and Barred Owl
How often do you spend time outdoors at night? In the quiet of the woods, or maybe not so quiet? Do you know what creatures wake up at night, while we sleep? Well on an Owl Prowl at Piedmont Wildlife Center, you can find out!
On a dark night in the woods at PWC, a group of people enter the woods and start hiking along a trail. All with one common goal: to hear an owl. The instructor, Matt, leads the way. About 20 meters down the trail he stops, asks everyone to be very quiet and then lets out a loud “WHO COOKS FOR YOU” in owl speak, not actual words. The guests all look around at each other. Not sure what may happen. Nothing happens. They continue walking down the trail and stop again. Matt lets out another call, “WHO COOKS FOR YOU, WHO COOKS FOR YOU ALL” again in owl speak. And just then, a Barred Owl in the distance calls back, a quieter “who cooks for you.” The guests gasp in amazement, for many of them this is the first time they’ve heard an owl. As they stand in wonder, a few guests in the front of the group catch a glimpse of an owl flying right in front of the group. An amazing sight!
As the hike ended, the guests were left with a sense of amazement and wonder. They wanted to know more about our native feathered friends. At that time, Matt and other volunteers place big, white boxes on a table. The guests know what’s next, they are going to meet our owl ambassadors. Just then, a Great Horned owl, a Barred owl, and an Eastern screech owl emerge from the big, white boxes. We discuss each bird individually, what their story is and how they came to live at PWC. We discuss where their wild neighbors live, what they eat, and other exciting fun facts. Out of the sense of amazement and wonder, an appreciation for our native wildlife starts to become apparent. “How can I attract owls to my yard?” “How can we help them?” Goal: Achieved. This is how it starts. Appreciating our wild neighbors can help us coexist with them, which can help conserve them in the future. This appreciation starts by learning not to litter food on the side of the road because it attracts wildlife which may get hit by cars. Or by learning that using rodenticide to kill mice in a house actually kills the wildlife that eats the mice. Perhaps someone is even encouraged to nstall an owl nest box in their yard or neighborhood to give owls a new place to move in. Small changes can make big impacts on wildlife. This is how conservation starts. This is how we hope to change the word. Through amazing experiences with wildlife and our wildlife ambassadors.
Matt leading guests on the Owl Prowl
Bellatrix, the Great Horned Owl, educating guests