On Thursday, Traveling Natural History Program Educator Colleen Moureaux introduced Wodin, a full-grown Eastern screech owl (Megascops asio), to an enthusiastic crowd in the Wallace dining hall. Moureaux was helping the young owl get accustomed to strangers, movement, and noise, as part of preparing him to appear in educational presentations (often in front of a lot of very enthusiastic children). As the small owl sat on her arm, Woden did not seem particularly impressed, although Moureaux pointed out the tiny feathers erect along the edges of his ear tufts, a sure sign that he was on high alert.
Wodin, named by the students of the Elementary School at Chewonki, and honoring the Norse god of wisdom and healing, came to Chewonki from Indiana this past October. He had most likely been hit by a car in the past; his right eye is destroyed. Although owls can survive in the wild with one eye, the animal rehabilitators who treated Wodin were concerned that his eye socket could develop infection; and thus his fate cast him into the role of teacher.
So far, he seems content. “He’s a pretty chill little owl,” says Moureaux. He’s also a big eater, although he’s only about the length of a robin. He will start traveling to schools with Moureaux and other Chewonki educators in about a month.
During his visit to the Wallace, Wodin kept his bright yellow eye on everyone, but nothing ruffled his feathers.