Fifth graders at Glens Falls Middle School had a hoot of a day on Wednesday.
A screech owl named Olivia and a barred owl named Justin were visitors to the classroom, along with Nancy Kimball of North Country Wild Care and Sarah Hoffman of the Lake George Land Conservancy.
Kimball is a wildlife rehabilitator and taught students about owls. Justin was hit by a car several years ago and could not recover enough to be released in the wild. Kimball doesn't know how Olivia was injured, but she, too, is unable to be released.
Both travel with Kimball to educational talks.
Students got to see dead mice that Kimball will feed the owls later. They also got to check out owl pellets, which Kimball said are similar to hair balls that cat's regurgitate. The pellets are filled with bones and other leftovers that the owl ate.
Spring is a busy time of year for Kimball, when people call her for help with baby birds, squirrels, rabbits and other animals, she added.
According to a North Country Wild Care brochure, if you find a baby animal, chances are the mother is nearby. It may need to be rescued if you know the mother is dead or has not returned to the baby in more than a day, if the baby is injured and if the baby is lying on its side, stretched out, the brochure added.
If you need help from a rehabilitator, the emergency hotline is (518) 964-6740. You can also email email@example.com.
Kimball got a pleasant surprise, too, Wednesday when students presented her with money they collected over the previous week or two. The funds will go toward her nonprofit organization.
And if you, too, want to see some owls in person, Kimball will be at the Winter Raptor Fest this weekend. It's the ninth annual at the Washington County Fairgrounds. Check out our Best Bets feature for more information or winterraptorfest.com.
— Gwendolyn Craig