Owl Lesson Resources

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Resource Explanation Ideas for Use

The softball is used to relate the proportional size of an owl's eyes to their body.  The eyes of the owls are so big that they cannot move or roll them in their head like a human can.  This is why they have the adaptation to turn their heads 270 degrees.  If human eyes were of equal proportion compared to the owl, our eyes would be the size of the softball.  Fun fact- owls have three eye lids.

Owls have a large amount of rods in their eyes that give them excellent night and movement vision.  They have a lower quantity of cones leading them to see the world in a more monochromatic manner, but they this does not impact their ability to see in the daylight.  

Resource: The Owl Pages

  • Can be related to a the discussion about  rods and cones before the evening program.
  • Can be connected to a lesson about adaptation. 

Stick w/yarn & Owl Wing

Owls have a unique feature on the leading edge of their wings.  The edge has a feature called the "flutings" or "fimbriae" which muffles the sound the owl while in flight.  This allows the owl to fly and hunt silently.  

The sticks can be used to demonstrate this adaptation by swishing the non-yarn wrapped stick through the air several times while asking the kids to listen.  They will hear a wooshing sound.  Then swish the yarn wrapped stick through the air several times, and the wooshing sound will be absent or barely audible.  This can be followed up by showing students the actual owl feather with the unique leading edge. Use hand lenses or scopes!

Resource: The Owl Pages

  • Can be used before a evening program to discuss adaptation and encourage silent walking. 
  • Can be used to connect a lesson about adaptation in predators.

Taxidermied Owls

There are five taxidermied owls currently. These are on loan from Jamie Acker, local owl researcher, and belong together in LS 103. Demo for students appropriate touch -2 fingers, gentle stroke in the direction the feathers are laying-or gentle touch to the beak and talons. Stewardship note is TOTALLY appropriate here. These birds all came to us as salvaged - we would not hurt a bird for the purpose of study.

  1. Barred Owl (BDOW-most often seen/heard at IW, current research by JA)
  2. Saw-whet Owl (NSWO)current research at IW by JA)
  3. Snowy Owl (SNOW - rarely seen in the northwest, not on BI)
  4. Great Horned Owl (GHOW)
  5. Western Screech Owl (WESO - extirpated on BI, thought to be in large part to the increased BDOW population)
  6. Barn Owl (BNOW)

Owl Pellets

 Owl Pellets are kept in the bird freezer

Cornell Video

Nocturnal Animals

Bird of Prey Shuffle

Owls, Mice, and Seeds