School kids get up close and personal with birds of prey

Jill Sturdy

Jill Sturdy, NatureHood Program Manager

On October 23rd over 1,000 Ottawa elementary school kids got to meet Elvis, an American kestrel and his friend Celeste, a Great-horned owl for an up close and personal presentation on birds of prey. Nature Canada worked with Falcon-Ed, a company specializing in falconry, to visit 4 schools in Ottawa to meet Elvis and Celeste, and present information about birds of prey and the important role they play in the ecosystem – including in the students’ own NatureHood.

NatureHood is about connecting urban Canadians, particularly children, to nearby nature. Although over 85% of Canadians live in urban centres, there are still so many opportunities to explore nature in their neighbourhoods, or NatureHoods. Both American Kestrels and Great-horned Owls can be found in and around the Ottawa area, so having Elvis and Celeste as ambassadors help raise awareness of nearby nature and the many different wildlife species that live in the area.

Image of Jill and Falcon Ed

Jill Sturdy and Celeste (Great Horned Owl). Photo by Jill Sturdy

Students learned what features make a bird of prey (carnivores with sharp talons and curved beaks), and found out what the Great-horned Owl’s favourite prey is (hint – you don’t want to get too close to these black and white critters or they’ll spray you with a powerful stink!).

When asked how many students love being out in nature, it was unanimous – they all do! And their reaction to the birds of prey only reinforced their interest and excitement for nature. Nature Canada is the voice for Nature, and we hope that up-close wildlife presentations like these, along with direct experience in nature will help foster the next generation of nature lovers.

Thank you to St. Monica, Regina Street Alternative, Our Lady of Fatima and Woodroffe Ave Public schools for inviting Nature Canada and Falcon-ed to talk about birds of prey and nearby nature.

This is the time of year when the owls start looking for a mate, so it’s a great time to get out and explore in your NatureHood, and you just might hear a hoot!


Falcon-ed is a company that specializes in falconry, training birds of prey, ecological control and educational presentations. A trained falconer and biologist handles the birds of prey, who are all born in captivity and have been specially trained for presentations. You can learn more at: http://fauconeduc.biz/

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