called into all four directions from several different locations in the woods, and we waited for a response. Nothing. The closest we came was a shadow of an owl seated quietly in an oak tree by the golf course—which turned out to be a dummy owl. (It looked pretty convincing in the dark.)
Back at the Nature House, wildlife curator and lead naturalist David Clipner began the presentation part of the evening. All the raptors at Leslie Science and Nature Center have suffered a permanent injury that makes them unable to survive in the wild, so they have been rescued and trained for education programs.
The first owl David brought out looked like the cutest little eastern screech owl that he told us was definitely not cute. “I’m not cute.” Despite its adorable face, he assured us, it is a fierce predator that can catch and crush an incredible amount for its size.
When David moved his arm that held the owl up and down, the owl’s neck seemed to elongate as its head stayed in place. Again, so cute. “I’m not cute.” This adaptation allows the owl to keep its eyes focused on its prey as it sits on a branch swaying in the wind.