An unusual collection of owls will be on full display today during an appreciation day at the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park.
John T. Wright, the zoos executive director, said there was a wide range of diversity in the owls on display. Among the zoos collection are great horned, barred, great gray, eastern screech, northern saw-whet, barn and snowy owls.
That diversity needs to be appreciated, Mr. Wright said. They all find their niche to survive.
The zoos event will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Joli Reynolds, the zoos education director, said that every hour there will be a craft or a story related to owls, and some of the zoos smaller owls will be on display during the course of the event.
We think owls are really cool, and we want people to know that, Mrs. Reynolds said.
Among the owls most notable contributions to humans are its consumption of small rodents such as mice and rats.
Theyre really great for pest control, Mrs. Reynolds said.
Part of the educational portion of the appreciation event will be passing along tips to help conserve owl populations, such as avoiding using rodent poisons that could harm owls that eat them, and littering on roadways that could lure rodents and owls into the way of speeding traffic.
They dont know to look both ways, Mr. Wright said.
Mrs. Reynolds said one of the zoos owls, Slater, the eastern screech owl, came from a rehabilitation center after it was hit by a car.
The appreciation day comes as the zoo moves forward with its Owl 500 campaign. The zoo is looking to raise money for new holding areas for the owls. The Watertown Daily Times is one of the supporters of the initiative.
Attendees who come in costume will receive a $1 discount on zoo admission for the day.
Mr. Wright said future events will be held to put the spotlight on other animals at the zoo.
Video of the zoos owls can be found at http://wdt.me/owl-awareness.