Have you heard about the Canadian Museum of Nature’s latest exhibition? It’s a hoot!
Owls Rendez-vous opened this week to rave reviews as museumgoers flocked to the museum’s outdoor plaza to check out the raptors and take in fun facts about what makes an owl an owl — how they fly so silently, how they see so well, and how they do that cool neck swivel.
There are 16 owl species in Canada and this exhibition showcases three — a great horned owl, a barn owl and two snowy owls. There’s also a Eurasian eagle-owl (a cousin of the great horned owl that lives throughout Eurasia) and a fellow raptor, an imperious bald eagle. Apart from the barn owl, which will head indoors when winter comes around, the raptors are all hardy enough to remain in their outdoor space in all four seasons for the next three years.
Each of the birds of prey has a story, from the bald eagle that was rescued after injuring a wing to the barn owl, an endangered species in Ontario, that was bred in captivity. Their enclosures — three metres high by four metres deep — are designed with lots of perches, which are periodically moved around to keep the birds engaged.
Museum staff member Stuart Baatnes, who is taking the lead on the birds’ daily care, says he’s already discovered that there’s “a truly Zen factor that comes with working with the birds. They’re a very aware animal so you have to have to be calm when you interact.”
The 24-metre-long exhibition includes dozens of interpretive panels suitable for all ages, from the simple biographies of each raptor to more detailed information on the owls’ range, physical characteristics, and threats to their survival. Due to ongoing pandemic restrictions, there is no interpretive programming at this time.
ADMISSION: Owl Rendez-vous is included with museum admission. Due to current physical distancing requirements, capacity is limited so visitors must purchase tickets in advance at nature.ca.
LOCATION: 240 McLeod St., Ottawa