Owl Prowl at Huron Natural Area
Thursday February 16, 2023
The WR Nature Kids met at Huron Natural Area at night for an owl prowl led by Fraser Gibson.
Fraser told us many interesting things about owls. Owls eat small animals like squirrels, mice and voles. Great Horned owls will also eat smaller birds (including other owls!) as well as skunks. Owls eat small animals whole and later cough up the fur and bones that have been squeezed together in the bird’s gizzard. It comes out in a pellet shape that can sometimes be found on the ground. Owls can turn their heads almost all the way around to see and hear their prey. Fraser showed us an owl skull, an owl pellet and feather.
We carefully walked along an icy trail to three different areas where Fraser played the call of the Screech Owl on his phone. The Screech Owl makes a trilling sound. We stood quietly listening for a reply but we didn’t hear one. After calling the Screech Owl a many times, Fraser tried calling the Great Horned owl by making hooting sounds. We didn’t hear an owl call back. We all tried the Great Horned owl call and sounded like a choir of owls! The weather was a bit windy and it was starting to rain and these are not good conditions to hear owls.
Owls are getting ready to nest at this time of year. They call out to defend their territory, to find a mate and to keep track of each other. Even though we didn’t hear any owls, it was fun to be outside in the dark in the woods. Being quiet and standing still makes you aware of other noises like the wind blowing through the trees and your snowpants and boots if you move even a tiny bit!
Thank you Fraser for leading us!
submitted by Rachelle Swayze