Armathwaite Primary School

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28th April 15
Trail : home / Look At Our Exciting Learning ! / Visits and Visitors : Mr Sparky the Barn Owl

Mr Sparky the Barn Owl

The children have recently had a very special visitor to Armathwaite School, Mr Sparky the Barn Owl. He is looked after by the World Owl Trust which is based at Muncaster Castle. He was accompanied by the Trust's Conservation Officer Hilary Lange, they came to tell us about the project Owls in the Community.

Owls in the Community Project


The project has been set up to try to encourage people to put up nest boxes for owls, as their ideal habitats of areas with long, rough grassland are rapidly disappearing from modern landscapes.

Hilary showed the children examples of nest boxes, and  discussed the characteristics of ideal habitats for owls.

What makes a Barn Owl a good hunter ?


Through Hilary's skillful questioning the children were soon able to identify the characteristics that help make Mr Sparky a successful hunter

  • very good eyesight which helps him see his prey
  • large talons which help him grip his prey
  • special wings that help him to fly silently
  • heart shaped face that is shaped like a satellite dish, which captures the sound and helps direct it towards his ears.

They also learnt to identify a male Barn Owl by the white feathers on his chest and his size. 

Do you know why owls have different eye colours ?


We also learnt that owls have different eye colours according to the time that they hunt.

Owls that hunt at night are called nocturnal and have brown or black eyes
Owls that hunt during the day are called diurnal and have yellow eyes
Owls that hunt at dawn and dusk are called crepuscular and have orange eyes

Barn Owl Slide Show


You can see the children enjoyying Mr Sparky and Hilary's visit here.

Continuing the Owl Theme


Reception and Year One made their own owl masks.

Year Two and Three Investigate Owl Pellets


The children learnt that owls have to swallow their food whole because they have no teeth. They cannot digest all the parts of their prey e.g fur and bones and so they bring this back up in the form of pellets.

Year Two and Three were given the opportunity to disect some  pellets and to try and identify the owl's prey. The pellets were placed in water to soften them, the fur was then removed and the children used an identification chart to classify the skulls and bones they found.

You can see the children carrying out their investigation in the slideshow below.

Please try this <a href="images/template/43/click-here.swf">Flash Clip</a>

The World Owl Trust


If you would like to find out more about the World Owl Trust you can visit their website  where you can see live pictures of Barn Owls nesting in Israel !