Birds of prey are fascinating to me and the homeschool students I serve. Programs about raptors and owls have been successful for my homeschool programming, whether bringing in the pros or creating my own activities.
- Our homeschool students thoroughly enjoyed a presentation from a local raptor rescue organization. The group brought in everything from owls to falcons, hawks to eagles. The focus of the presentation was conservation awareness. The kids felt empowered to learn how they can make the environment better for these amazing birds. Who knew that dirtier windows are better for birds?
- This year, we turned to our local forest preserve district for a virtual program on owls. The presenter was engaging and informative. At the end of her presentation, she brought out an owl to show the students. It was great to see many of the things she had taught us. For example, owls can turn their necks 270 degrees because their eyes don’t move. When one of the students asked her what the owl’s name was, she patiently explained that wild animals aren’t named because they aren’t pets.
Activities and Books
There are so many ways to engage students in learning about birds of prey.
- Dissecting owl pellets. I learned from the experts that you should only purchase owl pellets that have been heat sterilized. You can also find owl pellet dissecting videos and virtual owl pellet dissection websites.
- Because my latest program on owls was virtual, I had the students go on a measurement scavenger hunt around their homes. Everyone had measuring tapes or yardsticks. I shared a slide show I had made with photographs of various owls and the measurements of their wingspans. I challenged the students to find something that matched the wingspan of the adult barred owl (about 40″) or the great horned owl (about 50″) or the elf owl (about 12″). Some of the students loved realizing that they were about as tall as the snowy owl’s wingspan was wide!
- The Santa Cruz (CA) Museum of Natural History has a fantastic online Great Horned Owl Activity. The PowerPoint they offer is basically a program in itself!
- I often use Flippity.Net to create matching games and trivia quizzes based on my programming, so the students had fun with owl-themed games.
- Of course, our Library has many wonderful books to use along with owl programming. Here are three titles we enjoyed.
I’d love to hear what types of programming are popular with the homeschool students you serve!
This post addresses the folowing ALSC Core Competencies: I. Commitment to Client Group and III. Programming Skills.