This week we've been "rowing" Owl Moon by Jane Yolen. We've mainly used the Five in a Row lessons for this unit with a couple of other things added in. I believe this book has been one of our favorite units so far. In the story a father takes his child owling, so we planned our own special outing in search of an owl that we've heard a few times in the woods behind our house.
I found some good owling tips here and here. It was suggested on one of these sites to play recordings of an owl call to try to attract them. After learning which owls are common to our area, we visited owlpages.com and listened to several different calls . Kurt and I decided that the call of the Great Horned Owl is what we have heard on occasion, so we burned that one to a CD to use on our expedition.
When we told Superman and Giggly Girl that we were going to go owling, they were so excited. We told them the morning of, so throughout the day they kept asking how many more hours until we could go. Finally at 10:00 pm, we bundled them up and I headed out with them.
It was a picture perfect night. Snow was falling, and there was already a nice blanket of white covering everything. We trudged through the snow out to the edge of the woods, flashlight and CD player in hand. We played the call, watching and waiting. The kids were so quiet and patient. For about twenty minutes we stood out in the frigid night air and continued to play the call intermittently. No owls returned our call or made their appearance, but we did hear what I think was a deer out in the woods.
Finally I looked down at Superman and Giggly Girl, their eyes expectant and cheeks rosy, and decided it was time to go in. They would have stayed out there longer, I'm sure, but the temperature was dropping quickly. The snow was really coming down by this time, and for a moment we just stood there, looking up into the sky and watching the snowflakes race downward toward us. I think they enjoyed that moment as much as the owling itself.
We turned and headed back toward the house. Kurt greeted us at the front door, and they excitedly told him about how they were brave and quiet, just like the child in our story. They were not terribly disappointed that we didn't see an owl, and when I mention trying it again sometime, they both seem eager. So sometime in the near future, we'll dust off our Sonyman, bundle up and set out to find that elusive owl in our backyard.