Festival of Owls celebrates Owl Center’s favorite animal

The final day of the International Festival of Owls was held Sunday at Houston High School.

There were owl pellet dissections, nest box building sessions, and displays of owl artwork from children around the world.

The Owl Center’s executive director, Karla Bloem, said the live owl shows are the event’s big draw, especially some of the ones that travel six hours from the Illinois Raptor Center.

“It’s really hard to see owls, so it’s one of the rare chances for people to see them up close. Especially their snowy owls, which are a huge hit because they’re rare to see in the wild around here,” said Bloem.

One on the event’s speakers, Owl Center hall-of-famer Dr. Richard Raid, revealed how the power of owls helped the owner of a 3,000 acre sugarcane farm deal with rodents.

“He switched over to using barn owls for rodent control instead of rodenticides, and he has better rodent control with the barn owls than he did with rodenticides. And he was using eight to ten tonnes of rodenticides per year,” said Bloem.

Bloem said nearly 100 volunteers help make the festival a hit throughout the city of Houston.

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