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Learn About Owls

Learn about how owls see, hear, and hoot.

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Participant Age: 7 to 12, Under 7
Approximate Cost: $0
Duration: 1 to 60 minutes
Difficulty:
Physical Challenge:
  • Binoculars
  • Flashlight
  • A squeaky toy
Learn About Owls' Eyesight
  • Owls have big eyes that help them see at night when there is little light. Since their eyes are so much bigger, owls can see in the dark much better than people can.
  • To demonstrate this fact, head outside some evening and name the things you can see. Then find a particularly dark corner away from electric lights. What can you see now? (The outline of a tree; stars, the silhouette of a bird or bat flying across the sky?)
  • Next, look through a pair of binoculars. Binoculars help bring in more light so it’s easier to see. How much more detail can you see? Even binoculars can’t make you see as well as an owl. Their eyes take in 100 times more light than ours!

Learn About Owl Sounds
  • Many owls hoot, but others screech, snort, and hiss. Practice your owl talk by listening to owl sounds at owlpages.com/sounds.
  • Then go outside and give a hoot or two. If there’s an owl in your neighborhood, it might answer your call.

Learn About Owls' Hearing
  • Owls use their great hearing to hunt at night. Their ears detect the quietest rustle or crunch of leaves and grass. Those noises tell the owl a mouse or worm dinner is near.
  • While outside, close your eyes and listen as someone presses a squeaky toy and tosses it a few feet away. Try to figure out which direction the sound came from in order to find the toy. The flashlight is a fine backup, if need be. Shine the light up in the trees, maybe there’s an owl up there!

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