Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Maine Wildlife Park

Today we headed off to the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray. We were scheduled to have a class on Owls and Owl Pellets. Well, most of you know our love for birds so Owls were right up our alley. Sarah was so excited to see some real owls. She wasn't sure about dissecting an owl pellet, but she would give it a try.

We arrived to a parking lot full, I mean full, of school buses and cars. I was actually worried that the rest of our group wouldn't find parking spaces. There were 50 homeschool students signed up for the class! Luckily everyone made it.

The class was great! The instructor really interacted with the kids on their level. She showed us many species of owls native to Maine. We also learned about the different habitats owls live in as well as their unique adaptations. She did a wonderful job explaining what owl pellets are and put every one's mind at ease about dissecting one.

Sarah started off timidly with a tooth pick, trying to break apart the pellet and find all the small bones. Everyone received a couple of owl pellets from the owls kept at the Wildlife Park. The owls at the park are fed mice so we knew what we were looking for. There was even a sheet to match the bones you found in order to identify them. Sometimes you might find bones from an unlucky chipmunk that wondered into the owl enclosure. No such luck for us.

By the end, Sarah was really into it sorting through everything with her fingers. It was cool to find all the tiny bones, especially a skull and the bottom jaw. The bottom jaw is cool because you can pull the tooth out of the jaw. It's as if it grows. This enables the mice to "grow" more tooth as it wears down during his life.

Everyone busy at work.

Logan and Rebekah really liked the mounted owls. Rebekah was quite confused that they were real, not stuffed animals, yet they didn't move or hoot. Try explaining to a 3yo why someone would stuff real animals. You can imagine the questions. How did it die? What's it stuffed with? What happened to the insides? Can I sleep with it?

Luckily she got bored with stuffed owls and found a cool tree to play in instead.

After class we had a picnic lunch and then we were off to explore the park and see all the animals that call the Wildlife Park home.

Of course we started with the bird area. Sarah had to see those "real" owls. Unfortunately, it was hard to photograph the animals due to the fencing. This albino peacock was really splendid. So even though the fence is annoying, I thought I would share. There were lots of chipmunk running in and out of the peacock enclosure. And if they got to close to a male peacock they would show their beautiful feathers for us.

The turtle pond was a big hit with everyone. No annoying fenced enclosure here. We could see the turtle, lots of turtles, really well. These three guys were catching some rays on this log. When we walked along the pond we were surprised to see a tiny turtle sitting on the log in front of them. This little guy wasn't much bigger than a silver dollar. Really cool.

The woodchucks posed for us. They look so cute until you see their teeth, and then I'm not so sure I would want to snuggle with one of these fellows.

Rebekah loved the moose. I think she would have stayed there all day. Funny, thing is we see these at home quite often. I guess it is the familiarity.

This game in the fox hut had everyone wanting to play. It was great to watch the big ones help the little ones figure out where all the pieces went. Logan wants one for her birthday. She told me here mom could make one with a million eighty pieces. You guys better get busy.
We saved the deer park for last. Rebekah couldn't wait to feed the deer. She was so careful not to spill her corn, not even one piece. Of course when we got to the fence, she wasn't able to throw it far enough, but she still had a great time.

The bunch of us feeding the deer.

A long but great day. I think their faces say it all. Tons of fun! Thanks to Christy for setting this up and thanks for the Jeddrey's for joining us.


  1. That Pritty much sums up the day. It was really fun seeing the little wet-saw owls (the high light of my day)only 5 in. tall!!

  2. What a great day it was! Logan has been telling everyone who will listen about the Bobcat with its missing leg and the HUGE Bald Eagle with its missing wing! I guess the missing parts were a hit for her!

  3. This is so fantastic! I absolutely love birds of prey; they are such majestic creatures. Volunteering at a bird sanctuary, I've learned that owls produce lots and lots of pellets. Yum! :)

  4. Looks like you had a great day! I agree with the annoying fences! I had the same problem! The pics of the turtles and the woodchuck came out great though!


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