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About 60 fourth graders at Cedar Hill Elementary School were treated to a presentation by staff educator Donna Pandolfino of the Raptor Trust Association on Tuesday.
The Raptor Trust, located in Millington, NJ, is a sanctuary for the birds of prey.
“We were excited to host the Raptor Trust,” school media teacher Donna Cohen said. “We have been doing a unit on raptors during media class and it was so nice to learn even more from an expert.”
Pandolfino brought some slides, photos and stuffed examples of raptors, but she also arrived with special guest Winky, the one-eyed screech owl.
“The fourth graders were awed at seeing such a special bird close up,” Cohen said. Winky is a permanent resident of the sanctuary, after a car accident resulted in one eye being surgically removed. “The kids also loved Pandolfino’s demonstration of owl versus hawk wings.”
Pandolfino showed the children the difference in sound levels of the wings of the two birds by quickly waving first hawk feathers and then owl feathers for the children.
“The owl feathers are much quieter when they’re flapping,” Cohen said.
The children also learned that the Raptor Trust helps about 3,500 birds per year, that about 50 are permanent residents due to missing eyes or wings, and that birds of prey have no sense of smell, except the turkey vulture, which uses its sense of smell to find prey.