What is your favourite day of the week? This summer, my favourite day of the week is Wednesday because I get to go and talk to the children at the Ottawa Humane Society’s summer camp. There are about 40 new faces each week and they all love animals so much. They asked some really interesting questions like, “Why do I sometimes see a bunch of Turkey Vultures circling together?” (A group of Turkey Vultures might be a sign that there is a big meal and they are waiting for enough friends to arrive to be able to eat the meal quickly). They have also made some great observations about the specimens we bring like the Killdeer foot having only three toes. Being in the Plover family, which is a type of shorebird, the Killdeer only have three toes rather than four. Does the species name “Killdeer” sound familiar? That is the species of bird that nested right in the middle of where the Bluesfest main stage was planned. After getting special permission from Environment Canada, the nest was moved to a safer location.
On one of Wednesdays this summer, I also got to go to the new Mississippi Mills Youth Centre for a presentation and an afternoon of activities. We all learned about adaptations of beaks and feet, we went outside to conduct some bird surveys, and ended the day dissecting Owl pellets! What is an Owl pellet you ask? Well meat eating birds like myself eat the entire animal but cannot digest the fur and bones so our bodies form a fur ball that we spit up. If you take apart the ball, you can find all the bones from our last meal! I did work really hard and spit up my own pellet just for the activity that day but no one wanted to use it…. Apparently it's less gross if you let it dry out for a few days and sanitize it.