After two years of only basic activities, the International Festival of Owls is back to normal! You’ll find a staggering array of owl-themed activities for everyone from children to adults with a serious interest in owls throughout the weekend of March 3-5 in Houston, Minn.
The main attraction is the Illinois Raptor Center’s live owl programs featuring Snowy, Eastern Screech-, Barred, Barn, Great Horned, and a possible Short-eared Owls on Saturday and Sunday. These are in addition to the Burrowing, Barn, Eastern Screech-, Great Horned and perhaps Eurasian Eagle Owls on display throughout the weekend at the International Owl Center.
Friday features special programs at the Owl Center, followed by bus trips to remote areas to call in wild owls with expert owl callers. Saturday kicks off with an owl-face pancake breakfast (served with real maple syrup) at the local Lutheran church, and will keep everyone busy with nest box building, pellet dissection, a hooting masterclass and children’s owl calling contest, owl crafts, owl-themed merchandise and food, and live owl programs.
Saturday also includes a special sneak peek into the planning process for the Owl Center’s new facility with architectural firm DSGW. The day concludes with a keynote presentation by Roar Solheim from Norway about his adventures with owls and owl people in North America, paired with an expert woodcarving exhibition and owl-themed refreshments.
Sunday includes much of what you’ll find on Saturday, but with smaller crowds. There is a birding, natural history and geology bus trip, and Markus Mika from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse will do a special presentation about his research on the tiny and seldom-seen Flammulated Owl in Utah.
Everyone will want to see the owl artwork created by children from all over the world. This year 2,007 children from 34 countries and 20 U.S. states entered this contest. Winners will be on display at the International Owl Center, and many others will be on display and for sale at the high school.
For more information on this event, held March 3-5, visit the Festival website at www.festivalofowls.com. Plan now to attend, as some events require pre-registration and have limited space. Registration fees increase after February 26. Be sure to bring your kids or grandkids with you for a fun family outing.