Thursday, April 26, 2012

Great Horned Owls


The Man of the House and I made a quick library run last night after dinner.  There were a couple of birding books in our check out pile, and the librarian asked if we'd taken the children to see the owl, yet.

It turns out, a great horned owl is nesting in a tree in a school playground, in one of the towns down the road from ours.  Our sweet librarian produced a stack of gorgeous pictures, taken by her husband with a telephoto lens.

My camera is not nearly as fancy, and the light was waning by the time we got home, loaded up the children, and drove to the schoolyard, so no impressive pictures here...


...but the experience was quite amazing.


We were assured by several other groups of parents, also gawking at the owls (for the most part, all the children present, including my youngest, were more taken by a dusk trip to the playground, than by the raptors), that mother owl was very calm, and ignored children in the playground all day, and it was safe to get quite close.

I couldn't help but think, that just because she hasn't swooped down on anyone yet, doesn't mean she never will.


Still, staring up at the large owl, the nest, and the two bobbing babies was fascinating.



As were the bones and pellets under the tree (which even brought a few children back from the swings).  A rodent shoulder bone...


...and mandible?





I do have to say, after watching for a while, as another dad poked around in one of the pellets, I'm thinking...


...Jane Hammerslough picked the perfect title for her book.


We were amazed.  We were scientists.  And, we were grossed out!

It's great to be a homeschooler.

7 comments:

Annette {This Simple Home} said...

I used to teach a class called Who Puked? (for middle schoolers) We learned about owls and dissected pellets. Those were the days...

Annette {This Simple Home} said...

PS...go again soon for more pictures in better light!! And share them again! :)

Phyllis said...

That is so cool! What a pretty bird!

Raising a Happy Child said...

How cool is that! Hands-on experience with owls. I am sure cookies and crafts are coming soon :)

Ticia said...

What a great find! My kids would probably have the same reaction and play.

Jennifer said...

Awesome!

Tonya @ The Traveling Praters said...

That is so cool! I was taking our dog for walk yesterday evening and I heard a noise in the woods that really freaked me out at first. I realized that it must be some type of owl. I looked but didn't see anything so when I went inside I typed in owls found in Ohio and listened to different owl calls. I determined that the mystery guest in our woods must be a barred owl. I'm hoping to spot him soon and I'd love to find a pellet or two.

When my kids were much smaller we went on a field trip to a nearby bird sanctuary and dissected a pellet. My boys really loved it- especially once they found out that the owl regurgitates the pellet. What's with boys and puke, anyway? :)