Owls Are A Big Hoot At National Aviary In The Fall

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — They come in all sizes, from big to small. Some of the largest owls can hunt animals such as monkeys, heron and large rodents.

One of the smaller owls known to exist is native to Southwestern Pennsylvania: the Eastern Screech Owl. But they are not the smallest, by far.

“There are actually owls that are smaller than the Eastern Screech Owl,” says Cathy Schlott, the Curator of Behavioral Management at the National Aviary.

The owls are a big hit at the Aviary in the fall. There are several types featured there.

Anne is a Bard Owl. She is named after William Shakespeare’s wife. Shakespeare, of course, was known as the Bard himself.

Dumbledore is a Eurasian Eagle Owl. It’s one of the largest types of owls in the world. Dumbledore is the father of all seven owl chicks currently being raised at the National Aviary.

Many of the owls at The National Aviary are being rehabilitated. Loss of habitat is a big problem.

“If you protect the habitats for owls, you protect the owls themselves,” says Bob Mulvihill, an Ornithologist, or bird expert, at the National Aviary.

At the Aviary, they stress the importance of conservation and education.

“For one thing, different than other birds, they have forward-facing eyes,” says Mulvihill. “They have very large eyes. Their eyes are actually as large as human eyes, in a body that’s much smaller than ours.”

Every day, the Aviary hosts an Owl Prowl so visitors can learn more about the birds.

Owls are nocturnal. Just like cats, they sleep during the day and are active at night. To cater to this, the Aviary hosts programs at night, too, so visitors can see owls in action in their neighborhood.

“A guided, after dark nature walk to look and listen for owls in some of our local parks,” says Cheryl Tracy, the Executive Director of the National Aviary.

And the main autumn event is the National Aviary’s annual fall festival.

“Owl-O-Ween… occurs the last two Saturdays of the month, Oct. 21 and Oct. 28. Guests can come dressed in their favorite Halloween costumes, trick-or-treat through the Aviary for candy, get up close with some of our birds,” says Tracy.

There are also crafts and other fun activities for children.

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