The Edgerton Explorit Center is partnering with Fontenelle Forest‘s Raptor Recovery Program to bring this rare and unique opportunity to view Birds of Prey through a true educational experience. Our informative session includes viewing live raptors which include a Screech Owl, American Kestrel and a Swanson’s Hawk. This program includes the fun and fascinating facts of these amazing creatures by promoting the identification of raptors, their natural habitat and habits associated with their surroundings. Hands on Labs available in conjunction with the program.
Topics that would be covered:
What is a raptor?
Learn about what raptors we have locally
Raptors that migrate to and from our area
Habitat and conservation of the raptor world
How far can raptors see?
What and when raptors eat
What does one do when they find an injured raptor?
The important role raptors play as natural working environmental control measures
Hands On Raptor Labs
Owl Pellet Dissection (3rd and up)
What are owl pellets? They are the regurgitated remains of an owl’s meal, including all the bones of the animals it ate (usually small rodents). Owls usually swallow their food whole, digest the edible parts, and then expel the indigestible parts through their mouth as a pellet. It might sound gross, but dissecting these is a project most kids love!
Owl Eyesight Lab (1st – 3rd)
Did you know that owls have unique eyes? They have something called binocular vision. No wonder they have to turn their heads almost completely around to see the world around them. This unique owl eyesight keeps them from seeing well from side to side. In this lab, students make an owl mask and use it so they can see and understand how binocular vision works.
Bird Nest Engineering Lab Option 1 (K – 3rd)
Raptors are expert nest engineers and they make their nests with lots of different materials. Their ability to build nests that support and protect their eggs and young is an adaptation that has helped them to survive and thrive within their habitats. In this lab, students build a nest that can protect their eggs. Just like real birds, you can use a combination of natural and man-made materials to build your nest that are provided.
Nest Engineering Lab Option 2 (4th and up)
Same lab as option 1 but the nests will be tested to see if they can safely catch an egg.
* For cost refer to general demonstration and lab pricing
Meet Our Raptors
Roy – Swainson’s Hawk
Roy was found by Lake Minatar, by Scottsbluff on August of 2018. He was very thin, possibly suffering from West Nile Virus and he had a broken left wing. They eat mice and rabbit but when migrating they will switch to grasshoppers and dragonflies. They are social raptors outside of breeding season. In the fall they migrate to Argentina for the winter (one of the longest migrations of any American Raptor, around 12,000 miles round trip).
Roy was named by Pinnacle Bank.
Doc – Eastern Screech Owl
He was found in Bellevue NE in Dec 2018. He had a broken Left wing that didn’t heal well and was unable to be released in the wild. They are a resident of our area and do not migrate. They live in tree cavities or nest boxes. They are active during the night and hunt at dusk or dawn. Their calls sound like a trills and whinnies. They eat small animals, birds and insects. Males are smaller than the Females and they will remain together for life. Owls regurgitate the bones and fur or feathers of their prey into an oval pellet.
Doc is named after Harrold “Doc” Edgerton who is the centers name sake.
American Kestrel – Ted
He was found as a youngster in a tree that had fallen with a broken wing, which did not heal properly. They are North Americas littlest falcon and the most colorful. The black vertical stripes on their face are distinctive for all falcons. They eat small rodents along with grasshoppers, cicadas, dragonflies, spiders. They nest in cavities and ready made nest boxes. They are the most common and wide spread falcon but over the years they have been in decline because of habitat loss. They also can end up as prey for other larger birds. They can see in ultraviolet light and fly in a very fast stoop to chase their prey.
Ted was named by Edward Jones.