International Owl Awareness Day 2020 – Half-Earth

Image of eight different kinds of owls.

The Half-Earth Project Educator Ambassador program provides educators with compelling, classroom-ready content designed to engage students in biodiversity science and conservation.

International Owl Awareness Day is August 4.

How Does An Owl Fly So Silently?
Have you ever looked at an owl? Really looked? Have you ever listened to an owl? Really listened? There’s a lot to learn about owls from what you see and hear, but there is hidden beauty in what cannot be seen or heard. In this experiment, scientists sought to understand how owls are able to fly silently through the night. This article from the Audubon Society also helps shed light on the physiological adaptations that influence the flight patterns of these bespectacled birds.

Image of an owl flying.

International Owl Awareness Day is August 4
A good time to honor this fascinating group of mostly nocturnal birds of prey. Here are some good resources to learn more about these serenely beautiful birds, including a video documenting their hushed flight.

The International Owl Center isn’t waiting until August 4th to celebrate. On Saturday, August 1 they’ll feature a day of online programming on owls. Talks will focus on the importance of owls in our ecosystems and highlight conservation issues regarding owls. Find out more about this special day on their Facebook page and learn some very basic steps you can take to live a more owl-friendly life.

Image of an owl's side profile.

Who’s Who: Getting Species-Specific with Owls
Traditionally, the owl is a symbol of knowledge and wisdom, with keen eyes and a sharp beak, this bird of prey is more than a hoot. In fact, some owls don’t even make a hooting sound when communicating. In this bird guide, from the Lab of Ornithology at Cornell University, you can listen to the auditory diversity of different species of owl as well as observe the characteristics that set them apart and make them unique.

Additionally, this “Who’s Who Guide” from the Audubon Society provides beautiful images of variation among owl species. Students can analyze the similarities and differences among the species and maybe even hypothesize some evolutionary relationships.

Expanding beyond the species level, students can learn more about what characteristics define a bird as a “raptor”, how owls fit that qualification, and gather more detailed information about each species ecological functions with EXPLORE RAPTORS from the Peregrine Fund.

Cartoon image of an owl.

While owls may be seemingly silent during flight, DJ and producer Robin Perkins (known as El Búho which means “the owl” in Spanish) has created a compilation of music called Birdsong inspired by just that – the songs of birds. After listening to the sounds of owls in the above links, can you find the owl-y inspiration in his music? Listen here!

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