AUBURN, Mass. – It’s not every day that you see owls and a hawk descend upon the Auburn Public Library.
But on Thursday, four owls and a red-tailed hawk made an appearance at the library, and about 30 kids got to see the birds of prey up close and personal.
Julie Collier of Wingmasters brought the owls and hawk for a summer reading educational program at the library for children ages 5 and up. Wingmasters is “dedicated to increasing public understanding and appreciation of North American birds of prey,” she said.
“The kids use machines [computers, video games] hours at a time, and there is just no substitute for showing them the real thing,” Collier said.
Collier showed off a red-tailed hawk, a screech owl, a great-horned owl, a saw-whet owl and a barn owl, and the kids responded with oohs and aahs.
“You just aren’t going to see these owls in the wild,” Collier said. “All of these birds cannot make their way in the wild, and I want to do something positive with them. The best thing I can do is show them to people who would never see them in the wild.”
Collier is also unhappy with the condition of the environment and said she wants the kids to have “some kind of connection with wildlife.”
The kids learned about the truths and myths of owls. Only the great-horned owl makes the “hoot hoot” sound, and owls don’t sleep all day, Collier said. The kids also found out that owls are actually not that wise.
“This is the first time we’ve ever done a full owl show, and it went great,” said Renee Bichan, the children’s librarian in Auburn. “It was a great turnout, and the kids seemed to really enjoy it.”
The Friends of the Auburn Public Library sponsored the event.