Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year Rituals

The World Bird Sanctuary—staff, volunteers and interns—wishes one and all a happy and healthy New Year. 

Many of us humans have certain rituals for ushering in the New Year—a party with friends and family, a champagne toast, tooting horns and noisemakers of all kinds, eating a chunk of pickled herring, watching a New Years Day parade, etc. 
 All that hooting signals the commencement of a Great Horned Owl's mating season
Some of our feathered friends have rituals that take place over the New Year also.  For owls this is the time of year when love is in the air.  Triggered by the Fall reverse photo period (shortened day lengths) Owls begin claiming their territories and finding mates in late Fall and through the winter months.  This is when they are the most vocal.  If you are lucky enough to have an owl near your home you may have heard their calls more frequently after dusk.  These calls in the Winter are their territorial calls—somewhat like the old gold miners “staking their claim”. 

By the first of the year our feathered Lotharios are still hooting—but these are now “come hither” calls for any female in the area who may be interested.  If you hear his deep booming call and an answering higher pitched call you may have a mated pair calling to each other.  By the end of January they will most likely be sitting on eggs.
 By the end of January the female will be sitting on eggs
If you would like to learn more about these fascinating creatures (and meet some of them up close) join us for one of our evening Owl Prowls. One of our Naturalists will give a 30-minute presentation featuring live flying owls, followed by an easy night hike around our grounds.  You will have the opportunity to try your hand at “hooting” as we try to find wild Barred Owls and Great-horned Owls who are busy setting up territories and finding mates for the winter owl breeding season!   You may be the lucky person to coax an answer from one of our local wild owls.

Owl Prowls have been very popular this year and have filled up quickly, but we still have a limited number of openings available for remaining Owl Prowls.  So don’t delay--book today to avoid last minute disappointment.  We have openings remaining on the following dates:

February 1
February 23
March 1
March 9

All Owl Prowls start at 7pm.

To reserve a spot call our Education Center at 636-225-4390 ext. 0.

$9 per adult; $7 per child under 12
Friends of World Bird Sanctuary receive a 10% discount.

Groups of 10 or more pay $7 per adult and $7 per child.

Remember to dress appropriately for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes.

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