Workshops on European owls

In September we presented our workshops in the “Eulen-Spiegel” project to an international audience for the first time. Young people aged between 13 and 15 from all over Europe, more precisely from Italy, Slovenia, Germany, Austria and Ukraine, attended the workshops. The team of the European Wilderness Society held 3 workshops with 17-23 young people in each workshop on the European owl species, their special features, their protection and their habitats.

The workshops were of course in English, but overall it was a colorful mix of all languages. Since the group of owls is quite manageable, it was easy to work with the scientific names and after a short time everyone knew which owl species was meant. In the workshops, the young people got to know the various European species in a short presentation. The 3 plush toy mascots, snowy owl, barn owl and long-eared owl, were the stars of the workshops.

Audio recognition of owls

In the practical part, the children were allowed to guess the voices of the different species based on audio samples. That wasn’t easy at all and only the tawny owl (Strix aluco) and the eagle owl (Bubo bubo) were recognized with certainty by everyone. Then it was the turn of the various feathers, which the young people examined with magnifying glasses. For comparison, there were also some birds of prey feathers, which felt much harder and smoother, and not as silky soft as the owl feathers.

The diet of owls – a practical examination

The highlight of the whole workshop was examining the pellets of the various owl species. Equipped with tweezers, bowls and magnifying glasses, all kinds of bone material were dissected and afterwards, the youngsters were attempting to assign the different bones to the owls’ prey using identification documents.

At the end, the young people were told about the importance of natural forests, old trees and nesting places for owls and some ideas came up as to what they could implement in their respective home towns. After the 3 workshops, the workshop leader was tired but happy and the young people were full of enthusiasm for the world of owls.

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