This course will focus on what makes owls unique raptors and why they’re an important part of our ecosystem. We hope that students will learn how to identify by sight and sound the 6 most common owls of the Northwoods and gain an appreciation for their natural history.
The course will be given in 3 sessions, the first 2 sessions will last 1 hour each, and the third session will be 2.5 hours. The first session will feature a live Barred Owl and will be presented by Bart Kotarba of Northwoods Wildlife Center. This session will focus on the physiology of owls and their physical and behavioral adaptations that make them phenomenal predators. The second session will be presented by Annie McDonnell of North Lakeland Discovery Center. This session will focus on the different species of owls throughout the Midwest, their habitat requirements, diet, and breeding techniques. We will also have a chance to dissect owl pellets to examine the diet of an owl. The third session will also be led by Annie McDonnell, we will get out of the classroom and perform an owl survey. Annie will drive all participants in the NLDC van to a trailhead from which we will hike approximately 2 miles on a trail system while listening for owls and other night time wildlife.
Requirements: The only requirements that the instructors ask of participants is to have an interest and passion for wildlife and owls in particular. To participate in the 3rd session participants must be able to hike at a slow to moderate pace on uneven trail for 2 miles, dress properly for the weather including supportive hiking footwear.
Annie McDonnell is Naturalist & Volunteer Coordinator at North Lakeland Discovery Center for the past 2 years. She earned a B.S. in Biology and Wildlife Ecology from Montana State University in Bozeman, after which she spent 5 years researching grassland songbirds, waterfowl, and owls throughout Montana, Idaho, and North Dakota. Annie has been involved in the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas and owl surveys for 4 years. Annie is an avid hiker, mountain biker, kayaker, skier, and birdwatcher.
Bart Kotarba holds degrees in Wildlife Management and Biology with an emphasis in Environmental Education from UW-Stevens Point. He completed several internships-including one at Northwoods Wildlife Center-where he was involved in all aspects of wildlife rehabilitation. Bart has been with NWC since 1992. Under his direction, our Education Department has conducted thousands of programs to educate students and adults about wildlife and the environment.
Fee: $35 with early bird discount of $5 if registered by Feb. 25