OHC Summer Series #5 Owls

Outdoor Hour Challenge
Summer Series #5 Owls

Train Your Senses

  • Sight: Look for signs of owls: nesting sites, owl pellets. Observe the owl’s eyes, ears, beak, feathers, claws. Keep your eyes out for birds all summer and try to study at least one bird for your nature journal.
  • Hearing: Listen for the screech and hoot of owls. See if you can hear an owl snap its beak. Listen for other bird’s songs.
  • Touch: Feel the feathers of an owl or other bird if you get a chance at a museum or zoo.

Inside Preparation Work:
1. Read in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 100 to 103 (Screech Owl, Lesson 26). Make note of any interesting facts as you read for future reference. Listen to the owl’s song on AllAboutBirds.org: Western Screech Owl and Eastern Screech Owl.

2. Read in Discover Nature at Sundown pages 40 to 65 (reference to evolution). This section on owls is packed with interesting information, maps, and instructions for additional activities. Pages 59 to 63 outline a study using regurgitated owl pellets that you dissect to discover what the owl has eaten. (Please note this is an affiliate link to Amazon.com)

Owl Pellets for a dissection activity.

  1. http://www.pelletlab.com/barn_owl_pellet
  2. http://www.hometrainingtools.com/owl-pellet-jumbo/p/PM-PELLJUM/
  3. http://www.acornnaturalists.com/store/STUDENT-OWL-PELLET-KIT-P2683C0.aspx

Outdoor Hour Time:
Spend your 10-15 minutes of outdoor time this week looking and listening for birds. Try some birding at different times of day and if you are in an area that has owls, plan on spending some time outdoors listening and watching for these magnificent birds. Use AllAboutBirds.org to identify any owl songs you hear, either hoots or screeches. Also, if in the course of your week you find another bird that you are interested in learning more about, please take a few minutes to do some observations of that bird as well.

Remember that we are trying to learn to use more of our sense in our nature study and keep the suggestions above in mind when you are outside at any time this week. Birds can be seen just about anywhere: bird feeder, birdbath, ponds, parks, beaches, in trees, flying over your house, and places that you go each day. Although the focus this week is to learn a little more about owls, you can show interest in any bird that you come across this week.

Follow-Up Activity:
Complete the owl pellet dissection if you have collected or purchased one for this challenge. Follow the directions that come with your pellet and record your findings in your nature journal.

Here is a free online chart of bones you might find in a pellet and some additional free instructions. You can watch a virtual owl pellet dissection HERE.

Free set of owl notebook pages and dissection notebook page onNotebookingFairy.com. There are two notebook pages provided with the ebook, one for the owl and one for any bird you decide to study. You can also record your observations and thoughts in your blank nature journal if you wish.

This owl challenge is found in this ebook here on the Handbook of Nature Study website. You can find it in the Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.
Summer 2010 Nature Study FinalUltimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy



  1. We have eagerly been waiting this week’s Friday Nature Study. :) Dissecting the pellet was more interesting and time consuming that we thought. We sorted bones for over an hour. Well. The boys sorted, while I read blogs. :) They want to glue the bones down. But. Um. Then we’d have to keep them right? I think digitally sealed is best right?
    We did read a few library books today and meandered as a family through the links on the challenge page, using the links to identify the bones. I forgot to include that in my post :)

  2. We are so behind in these! We have been enjoying our month off..
    We did do some backyard nature study though with the discovery of an interesting caterpillar!

    We’ll catch up soon on our summer nature study.

  3. Hi! Just wanted to let you know that we are using your blog for our science this year. I love it! We did the tree study last week and used the printout with questions and a space to draw…do you have that for every challenge that you do? I didn’t see it for the owl one….I might have just missed it. Since we started late, we are going a little out of order and doing the assignments according to where we are (if we’re traveling) and what works best for us…
    Thanks for all that you do! :)

  4. Hi Megan,

    I am so glad you are enjoying the OHC.

    To answer your question: There are many of my free notebook pages listed on the left side bar of my blog.

    For the current challenges, they are in the ebook that you can purchase for the Summer Series.

    You can adapt many of the free ones to use with any challenge.

    Hope that helps.

  5. Here is part 2 of our challenge…we had so many pictures that it didn’t all fit into one post!


  6. Truly we love owls. So many great resources in the ebook!

  7. We love Owls! And always enjoy learning and reviewing about them. Thanks!

  8. We studied chickens this week instead of owls. Since you wrote, “Although the focus this week is to learn a little more about owls, you can show interest in any bird that you come across this week,” I hope it was okay to include our findings here.

  9. Hi Charlotte,

    Of course you can share your link here….thank you for sharing your study.

  10. Finally got around to our owl study and had a great time! Btw, I like the new look of the blog, very fall-like. We don’t get much fall in our area (NW Florida) we just kind of slide right into winter sometime after Christmas lol.

  11. My daughters focused on the Eastern Screech Owl which they were able to see up close at the Minnesota Raptor Center where they are part of the Raptor Youth Corps. They also have done owl pellet dissection. We didn’t do it this year again, but I included pictures of the process and the many bones they found in a pellet. It was pretty amazing how many were in one pellet! http://harvestmoonbyhand.blogspot.com/2014/11/screech-owl-outdoor-hour-challenge.html

Add Your Comment