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Feathered friends

Children attend birds of prey program at library

 

Katie Perttunen/Daily Globe

COURTNEY WRIGHT, assistant director of education at the Northwoods Wildlife Center of Minocqua, Wis., holds Rory, a broad-winged hawk, during a program at the Hurley Library Wednesday. Fifty local children attended the event, the second of four summer programs at the library.

HURLEY — Fifty children, many from the Hurley School’s STARS program, gathered in the conference room at Hurley City Hall Wednesday to meet three birds of prey from the Northwoods Wildlife Center during part of the Hurley Library’s summer programming.

Courtney Wright, assistant director of education for the center, brought an American kestrel named T.J ., a broad-winged hawk named Rory, and Cecil the owl. The birds were all rescued and are cared for at the center in Minocqua because of vision issues that would leave them unable to fend for themselves in the wild, Wright said.

Wright passed around eagle talons, owl talons and the wings of a great horned owl and a red-tailed hawk. Eagles have sharp talons to grip the animals they catch, Wright said. Owls have two talons in front and two talons in back, also to help grip their prey. Wright showed the children how the jagged edges on owls’ wings help them to be quiet, while the pointed wings of the hawk help them to be very fast.

The children saw the skull of an owl, learning that the reason that owls have such wide mouths is due to the fact that they swallow food whole.

Owls’ eyes are so big because they can’t move their eyes around, instead they turn their head up to three-quarters of the way around. “If we had eyes the size of owls, they would be the size of softballs,” said Wright.

Wright warned the children that if they see a bird in the grass to be careful. An injured bird can still be dangerous. The best thing to do when an injured bird is found is to call the center at 715-356-7400.

Wednesday’s program was the second of four programs the library features for summer. Last week children learned about turtles, and next week they will learn about frogs.