Smile Politely

Prowling on some owls

An owl prowl is an informational and interactive event that takes place periodically, on Saturdays usually, at the Urbana Park District Nature Center near Busey Woods. Guests are walked through a powerpoint informational slide show about owls and then taken by guide into Busey Woods to look and listen for owls. Afterwards you’re able to meet the district’s owls up close and personal, study some owl pellets, and handle some owl wings. 

I registered by phone, about a week ahead of time, which is advisable because the event registration filled up quick. However, be sure to have 10 minutes free to register by phone if you aren’t already in the district’s system. The cost was $8 and I was able to pay with credit card. 

The staff were friendly and informative. While out in the woods it was a comfortable, brisk walk. The guides tried their best to summon owls with their owl noise machine. We might have heard a few hoots but it also could have been dogs. Not too sure. Either way the walk was nice.

Back at the center we were able to meet some owls up close and personal. They were very interesting looking. We also were able to see some found owl anatomy including a few wings and some claws. We were able to take pellets home with us to dissect if we so chose. They also provided hot tea which was a nice perk after the cold, dark hike around Busey Woods. 

All ages attended this event and if have a chance to attend it I would encourage you to do so. 

Pre-prowl informational session

Listening to owl recordings

Showing us how to use the flashlights

Some items to look at in the nature center

Outside on the prowl

Back inside, looking at wings, claws, and pellets

Guide explaining pellets


Delicious, hot tea

Meeting the owls

Both of them only had one eye from unknown injuries

And just for fun, here are some laminated surveys that kids have filled out about Urbana Park District

Your next chance to see all of Urbana Park District’s awesome birds is on February 13th, when they host the Great Backyard Bird Count. Find more info on that here.

About Sam Logan:

Sam is the Photo Editor and head photographer at Smile Politely. Find him (and his photos) on social media or by emailing him directly. 

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