You might think today’s fascination with owls results from the Harry Potter and “Guardians of Ga’Hoole” books and movies, but not so, says photographer Mark Wilson.

“There’s a huge hunger for live animal programs,” he said. “People can’t get enough of live animals, and particularly owls. They are impressive birds.”

Wilson and his naturalist wife, Marcia, run the Massachusetts-based Eyes on Owls, which offers presentations with live owls to organizations and school groups. They will bring six or seven live owls to Maine Audubon in Falmouth on Saturday for their Owls of the World presentation.

The Wilsons are not wildlife rehabilitators. “We take the birds who have flunked out of rehab,” Wilson said.

For their Owls of the World program, the couple will bring owls native to the area, such as the tiny northern saw-whet — “The cutest owl you’ll ever see,” Wilson said — the great horned, and a snowy. They’ll also bring a couple of owls not native to the area, including a Eurasian eagle owl, whose wingspan ranges from 55 to 79 inches.

Maine Audubon has hosted the Wilsons and their owls for more than a decade, said Maine Audubon staff naturalist Eric Hynes. The organization uses the popular Owls of the World program to foster a relationship between people and nature.

“(The program) is a way to continue our education mission — to inspire people to take action and become better wildlife stewards themselves,” Hynes said.

The Wilsons’ presentations almost always sell out, so extra programs have been added to accommodate the demand over the years. This year, the extra programming includes two morning shows for young children (ages 2 and older) and two afternoon shows for adults and older children.

Both programs include a hooting lesson and a chance to see the owls up close. People are not allowed to touch the birds, though. Wilson says the no-touching rule is for liability reasons, but also because a bunch of people reaching to touch a bird would cause the owl a lot of stress.

The morning children’s programs will include a reading from the book “Owl Babies” by Martin Waddell. The afternoon programs feature a slide show of Wilson’s photographs — he was a staff photographer at the Boston Globe — and a natural history lesson about owls.

Registration in advance is required. Call Maine Audubon at 781-2330, Ext. 273, to make reservations. The programs are held regardless of the weather.

Staff Writer Stephanie Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6455 or at:

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: