“Owls of the Carolinas” offered for October home school program

Published 10:00 pm Friday, September 9, 2016

Pam Torlina, director of stewardship and land protection for the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), will be presenting “Owls of the Carolinas” on Thursday, Oct. 27, at the Landrum Library at 2 p.m. This presentation is for the monthly homeschool program that is held every fourth Thursday at the Landrum Library.

Torlina’s presentation will focus on several species of owls found in the Carolinas and highlight the special characteristics that make them successful predators of the night.

During the presentation, participants will get an up-close look at feathers, talons, and owl specimens in order to gain a better understanding of their unique characteristics. (It is illegal to possess any part of a migratory bird without the proper permitting, and PAC is permitted by the federal government to collect and possess bird specimens to be used for educational purposes.)

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After the initial presentation, participants will become citizen scientists as they dissect owl pellets, the clean and odorless material from prey that can’t pass through the owl’s intestine, such as fur, feathers and bones. The material found in an owl pellet provides important information about the diet of a particular owl species and these clues are used to help scientists better understand owls, their habitat requirements. Participants will discover, hands on, what an owl eats and learn to identify the prey of an owl.

Torlina, a biologist, has been with PAC serving as the director of stewardship and land protection for 10 years. She has 20 years of experience as a field biologist, naturalist, and outdoor educator. She has worked with the South Carolina State Park Service, the City of Greenville Parks and Recreation-Youth Bureau, the New York State Office of Parks and Recreation and Historic Preservation.

She also worked at Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve, in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada, where she has performed surveys on annual migratory and breeding birds, nocturnal owls, hawks and woodpeckers; presented educational programs on birds for adults and children; conducted nest searches and nest record data in the U.S. and Canada; participated in data collection for the most recent Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas; and volunteered with a licensed bird bander over the past several years.

– article submitted by Leasa Hall