We attended a garden themed, children's fair this weekend, and were treated to an impromptu science lesson. One of the tables, was manned by representatives of the Audubon Society, with live owls.
After being told about the dangers of great horned owls, in great detail, with a story about how a mother owl had recently dispatched two researchers, trying tag the owlets - apparently, one man had his eyes plucked out, and fell from the tree to his death, while the other had his jugular opened, fell from the tree, and then bled to death before he could get help - we were given opportunity to pet a smaller, but still sharp beaked, long eared owl.
Amazingly enough, the children stepped forward, to pet it. Apparently, it was quite soft. Then the woman holding the owl, folded back its feathers, to show us its ear, and the cartilage tube that holds the eye.
She actually did a really nice job explaining to the children about how owls cannot roll, or turn their eyes, but instead move their head. She told the children to imagine they were holding binoculars up to their eyes, and that would be how an owl sees. So, we had to try that out.
I had the kids take turns being the owl, and the prey (well, the prey was pencil). The child holding the pencil moved up and down, and back and forth, while the "owl" tried to keep an eye on the pencil, without moving his head. They figured out pretty quickly, that an owl needs to move it's head, in order to follow a moving object.
We learned quite a few other fun facts about owls at the fair, too. Like the fact, that they have nictitating membranes, for cleaning their eyes (like a cat, or dog), and can turn their heads much farther than we can (because of very long necks). We double checked these facts, and found quite a few more at the Owl Pages.
Check them out for yourself, by clicking the link above, or click, here, to find more science fun for children, at this week's Science Sunday link-up, at Adventures in Mommydom.
It's great to be a homeschooler.