Raptors fascinate, educate library patrons: Program returns Nov. 16

by | Nov 12, 2018

The Auburn Public Library presents “Wingmasters” on Friday November 16th from 6:00pm – 7:30 pm in the Merriam Room.

Wingmasters is a partnership of two licensed raptor rehabilitators, Julie Anne Collier and Jim Parks, who care for injured
birds of prey. Most of the birds they rehabilitate can ultimately be released back into the wild, but in some cases release is not possible. Those birds remain in their care and are used for educational programs.

Collier recently visited Auburn on November 3, bringing with her several amazing examples of owls and falcons. More than a simple show-and-tell, Collier’s presentation highlighted numerous fascinating facts and debunked many myths about raptors commonly found in New England. The first seemed to take many by surprise.

“Owls are not smart” said Collier.  “This is a myth that has been built and reinforced in media and literature, because owls have these big eyes and look like they should be smart.  They are not.”

Collier says the smartest bird she ever worked with was a golden eagle, and that red tail hawks are intelligent, but that ravens were actually the smartest birds in general.

“Owls hide” she said. “They don’t move and their wings are nearly silent when they fly. This is a matter of survival. Songbirds hate owls because they mean danger, and songbirds will gang up on owls and kill them. So, the owls hide. When they nestle up against tree bark, you would walk right by and not know they are there.”

Collier also debunked the fact that owls are nocturnal.

“They are active during the day, but they are hiding. They are so good at blending in and being still, you just do not often see them. Screech owls are a perfect example. They are very, very common here [New England], but not commonly seen.”

Collier shared a piece of information many will find interesting, as this very topic has made the rounds on local social media sites more than once.

“If you find headless bodies – headless rabbits, headless rats, headless chipmunks – what you have is an owl,” Collier said.  “The head is easier for the owl to tear apart than the animals’ backside.”

One owl, the great horned owl, can even be a danger to unsuspecting humans.

“This bird can weigh 5 pounds, and is the ultimate nighttime killer in the wild” said Collier. “It will eat anything up to fisher size, and it will attack anything. From December to about March, this includes humans who get too close to the nest. She will protect her young to the death.”

Since 1994 Wingmasters has presented over 5000 programs throughout New England. This program for adults includes at least 5 live birds (raptors) and museum quality Native American artifacts. The focus is on how Native Americans revered and gave thanks for birds of prey, using their feathers in headdresses, weaponry, clothing, and interweaving them with beading and other decorative artifacts.

You can view more of Collier’s and Parks’ fascinating presentations on November 16.  Registration for this event is required. Register online, or visit or call the Library at (508) 832-7790.
Intended audience is primarily adults: Children age 8 or older may attend with a parent/guardian.

Please Note: Check-in is from 5:30 – 5:55pm. The Library closes at 6:00pm. The program starts on time. Late arrivals will not be allowed access to the building! This program is partially funded from the Norma Card Trust | Photos from https://www.allaboutbirds.org/