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Birds of Prey Wow Youngsters at Southfield Library

Dale Vigliarolo in progress TOPBirds of Prey Wow SaharaNEW02Youngsters at Southfield Library

(Crystal A. Proxmire, May 7, 2016)

Southfield, MI – Nancy Sloan of the Howell Nature Center likes bringing a taste of the wild to groups of children, and on May 2 the Southfield Public Library was graced with her expertise.

But the stars of the evening were the birds of prey that came with Sloan from the Nature Center.  About a dozen children sat in a semi-circle to watch as she took the birds from their cages on by one.

First was an owl named Sergei.  When Sergei was a baby he fell out of his nest.  Someone found him and brought him to the center.  “Have you ever heard that if a human touches a baby bird the mother will reject it?  That’s not true,” Sloan said.  “If you see a baby bird you Red Door Realty Ad _own_your_dreamcan put it back in its nest and the mama won’t mind.  She will be very happy to have her baby back.”

In Sergei’s case, the nest could not be found, so his new home was at the nature center.  Last year 2,800 animals were taken in by the Howell Nature Center, many of which were cared for and released back in the wild.  Animals that stay at the center, including those that travel for presentations, are injured and cannot be returned to the wild.

Sergei made the trip to Southfield with a broad winged hawk, a paragon falcon and a turkey vulture.

The commonality among birds of prey is that they capture smaller animals with their feet.  Their claws are exceptionally strong, sometimes as much as ten times stronger than a human’s hands.  The kids also go to learn fun facts about each animal.  For example the owl is made to be exceptionally quiet as it flies, and it has the ability to find prey – like mice – based on their garden16_angela_fisherkeen sense of hearing.  Sloan also said that males have a low voice made of five notes, while the female has a high voice of seven notes.

The turkey vulture was particularly impressive to the children.  There are two vultures currently at the center.  The creatures can have up to a six foot wingspan. They also can projectile vomit when they need to fend off an enemy.

One little girl asked the presenter “Why do we have birds?”

Sloan explained that all creatures depend on each other for specific things. One great thing about birds, she said is that “they eat seeds from trees and other plants and when they go to the bathroom the seeds some out fertilized.”  Birds also help eat rodents, so they are very useful in urban areas.

To learn more about the Howell Nature Center visit

For a list of fun and educational events check out

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