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Alice and Karla give a hoot about Great Horned Owls

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Who ever thought that a three week owlet could change the way in which Great Horned Owls are viewed not just here in southeastern Minnesota but around the world? Alice the Owl, an employee of the Houston Nature Center, educates her audiences of all ages from preschoolers to senior high students.

Alice the Great Horned Owl, who is now 14 going on 15, fell out of her nest in Wisconsin as a three week old owlet wherein she sustaining a severe left elbow injury resulting in taking away her ability to ever fly and hence to live in the wild as she would never eat if she could not fly. The Raptor Education Group of Antigo, Wisconsin, is where Alice was taken once found in the woods. Alice was nursed back to health but would have a life long injury. Due to that injury, Alice was designated an education bird by federal standards which means she could be housed and taken care of for school and or other education based programs. Hence, Alice found a new home at the Houston Nature Center where she has become a legend in her own right. After all, how many Great Horned Owls do you have their own blog?

For anyone who has been to the Houston Nature Center, they can testify it is not a huge facility to keep a Great Horned Owl in. Therefore, Alice needed a very dedicated caretaker. Low and behold, Karla Bloem, the Houston Nature Center’s Director, who lives in rural Houston was the most logical one to do that and has done it happily for many years. Every day, Karla and Alice commute back and forth to work, whether at the center or onsite at an educational program.

Presentations may be provided free on a first come, first serve basis around the Houston area, but off site programs must be indoors and in an insect free building. Presentation length can be customized from thirty to ninety minutes depending on the audience characteristics.

Due to Alice, Great Horned Owls are much better understood now in Minnesota and beyond. She even provided the stimulus needed to remove this owl species form the Minnesota unprotected birds status. After Alice’s vocal study, the study of the different hoots and other sounds, Karla Bloem became instrumental in founding the International Festival of Owls, which in essence celebrates Alice’s birthday in March of every year.

Come on out to the Houston Nature Center to learn more about Alice and her caretaker! Or, come to the Owl Festival to be held in March, 2012 to celebrate Alice’s fifteenth birthday. Find out if she is the wise old owl or the mysterious one.

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