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Wesley College Welcomes Happy the Owl

Our popular Barn Owl Ambassador, “ Happy”, had an exciting visit recently to Wesley College in Belize City.  Even though it had been quite a while since he visited a Belize City school, “Happy” seemed at home, sitting on his perch in front of the classroom.  Perhaps, since Wesley College school uniforms are white, he thought he was with a big group of barn owls!

The program began with an intro to the raptors found in Belize.  Students noted that Belize is home to eagles, hawks and owls.  All are beautiful birds-of-prey. The question emerged, “Why are barn owls bad luck?”.  The Zoo crew was eager to point out that just the opposite is true! Barn owls are critically important to the urban ecology scene.  Why?  Simply stated, barn owls eat more rats than any other animal on the planet.  This translates into a healthier environment for our city residents.  Who wants to be living among throngs of Charlie Price?  Barn owls feed daily on these vermin, and will also capture and feed rats to their young.

 

The students learned about the silent flight of a barn owl.  As feathers were passed next to their ears, they could easily tell the difference between a “noisy” hawk feather, and a silent barn owl feather.   “Happy” was eager to “show off” and would open his wings, stretching all ten of his gorgeous flight feathers for everyone to admire.

It is impossible to speak about the unique profile of a barn owl without mentioning their remarkable hearing abilities.  The students learned that barn owls live all over the world, except for desert and arctic regions.  Where it snows,  a barn owl can detect the heartbeat of a mouse when that rodent is four feet under the snow.  Putting barn owl hearing ability on the student’s level, they learned that “Happy” could hear their heartbeats from twenty-five feet away!   No wonder these beautiful white owls are excellent flying predators.   Charlie Price does not stand a chance.

Topping off the program, students were invited to submit an essay about raptors in Belize. The winning essays, up to sixty, would win a trip to the zoo for  “ Panama”  the Harpy Eagle’s upcoming birthday party in November.   Science teachers, Mr. Bernard Bradley, along with the head of the Science Department, Ms. Venice Saul, enjoyed the sessions with “Happy” the barn owl.  We  look forward to visiting Wesley College again.   Sharing important information about these very special birds who call Belize their home is the primary job responsibility for Happy the Owl.  And he truly excels at his job!

 

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