Area libraries take wing in Birds of Prey program

Courtesy of Alice Sproule
Karen Young shows a Eurasian eagle owl to an audience during the Omer program. The program had to be moved to Omer City Hall from the library due to the large turnout.
Courtesy of Alice Sproule
Jenny Schroeder shows off a red-tailed hawk to a large audience at Omer City Hall.
Kevin Bunch
Bird enthusiast Seth Piarce, 10, of Sterling discusses birds of prey with Jenny Schroeder after the program at the Standish Mary Johnston Memorial Library.
Kevin Bunch
Karen Young shows off the massive wingspan of Bigfoot, a Eurasian eagle owl. His wings are adapted for silent flight, allowing him to move in on prey without a sound.
Kevin Bunch
Karen Young shows how puffed out Bigfoot the Eurasian eagle owl’s feathers are, by giving him an enjoyable neck scratch.
Kevin Bunch
Jenny Schroeder lets kids get an up-close look at a peregrine falcon named Eclipse. Peregrines have been used as hunting birds for thousands of years.
Kevin Bunch
Karen Young holds up a Lanner falcon named Bobbin for the crowd in the Standish library.
Kevin Bunch
Karen Young, left, holds an African auger buzzard while Jenny Schroeder holds onto a red-tailed hawk named Vixen. Female birds of prey are larger than males due to their need to warm eggs and defend their young.
Kevin Bunch
Karen Young, left, and Jenny Schroeder hold a pair of kestrels, small falcons native to Michigan. Their eyes are adapted to see ultraviolet light, allowing them to see mouse trails while hunting. Young has Tulip, a female, and Schroeder holds Gizmo, a male.

By Kevin Bunch
Staff Writer |
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ARENAC COUNTY — The Iosco-Arenac District Library held its final event in the Dream Big: Read summer reading program, as the Omer, Au Gres and Standish libraries hosted a variety of birds of prey July 25-26.

Falconers Jenny Schroeder and Karen Young showed audience members a mix of carnivorous birds, including kestrels, an auger buzzard, a red-tailed hawk, a Lanner falcon, a peregrine falcon, and a Eurasian eagle owl.

The two women work with Bird Rescue of Huron Valley, and talked about the history, hunting methods, biology, and habitat of the birds. They also discussed the features that set birds of prey apart from other types of birds: excellent eyesight, curved beaks, and sharp talons.

Each type of bird hunts prey differently, according to Schroeder and Young. They explained the different methods and adaptations a nocturnal, stealth predator like an owl uses to hunt as opposed to a peregrine falcon, which will dive down on its prey to deliver slashing cuts with its talons or a vicious blow with a balled-up foot.

Lynne Bigelow, children and teen services coordinator with the district library, said while this was the last event of the summer reading program, she encouraged people to continue to support and use their local libraries, and to stay tuned for programs later in the year.

According to Omer Mayor Alice Sproule, more than 80 people showed up for the Birds of Prey program, requiring it to be held in the adjacent Omer City Hall, rather than the Omer Little Eagle’s Nest Library.



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