We've been having a great time with the "Jubilee" summer reading program at the Northwest Branch library. We've had lots of fun adventures learning about nature this summer.
We've learned about spotting and identifying birds, and learned about the different animals that are or have been in the Coastal Bend. Did you know we used to have mountain lions living down here?
We've made tornadoes and planted sunflower seeds and had a volunteer from the aquarium show us slides about raptors that have been rescued. I think one of the best ones so far, was the day we dissected owl pellets to see what the owls in the area have been eating.
The owl pellet day was lots of fun, with parents and children alike taking apart owl pellets to see the bones and feathers and fur of the animals the owls had eaten. If you don't know what an owl pellet is, think big cat hair ball.
The owl eats different kinds of animals, birds, moles, mice, lizards and voles. What it can't digest, such as the bones, the owl keeps in his crop and then "throws up" the resulting ball. If you take apart the owl pellet, you can find all kinds of bones.
I want to thank all the people who collected the pellets for me. I had pellets from both barn owls and great horned owls. After cooking them in my oven to get rid of any possible parasites (don't ask about the smell in my house for a couple of hours), we took them apart using skewers and rubber gloves.
There were several groups that found really interesting bones. Some found bird skulls. Others found mouse skulls, and some of them still had teeth in them. We also found vertebrae, rib and leg bones.
It was just like opening a present to discover the bones.
Rita G's daughter even loaned us a baby barn owl skull to look at, an owl feather and some owl pellets. Thank you so much, Debbie, for loaning the materials.
We still have more programs scheduled for the rest of the summer reading program, so if you're bored, come by the library. There is something scheduled Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday until July 19.
Our closing program will be July 21 at 4:30 p.m. when "Chicken Dog" will visit the Northwest Library. Don't forget to let us know when you've read your books for the "Jubilee" reading program so you can get your goodie bag, certificate and name displayed in our windows of fame.
Jean Meadors is the children's librarian for the Northwest Branch Library in Corpus Christi. Readers may contact her at 241-9329.