Snowy Owls to Saw-whet Owls

Shannon, Norman Smith, and baby owl!

The Lloyd Center recently welcomed a Raptor Specialist, Norman Smith, for a captivating presentation about owls and his many years of work as a self-taught naturalist. 

Norman Smith has worked for Mass Audubon since 1974 and recently retired as Director of the Blue Hills Trailside Museum and the Norman Smith Environmental Museum in Milton, MA. 

Having rehabilitated injured raptors and successfully fostered over 1,000 orphaned hawks and owl chicks, he has acquired extensive information about the importance of “adaptive nests”.  Orphaned chicks do not need to be placed in raptor nests, but will be adopted with other similar aged chicks in plastic containers hung in trees! His long-term projects have included trapping and banding migrating hawks and owls and doing research on snowy owls and other raptors wintering at Logan Airport.  Since 2000, he has followed the roosting, hunting and behavior of these raptors with a system of satellite transmitters he developed to learn more about their movements.

Smith is a special speaker combining thoughtfulness, passion, and humor, with excellent slides.  Throughout his career, he has involved children of all ages in his work, as he believes that experience and decision-making are the foundations of understanding, appreciating, and caring for the world in which we live. 

Great Horned Owl

Given the excellence of his work, teaching, and passion, his son and his daughter (now a Lloyd Center board member) provide excellent examples of experiential learning in his presentation.  In addition, the materials, books, and the three-week-old Great Horned Owl he brought to the presentation were added dividends!

We were lucky to have Norman Smith present about his work, what has been learned to date, what questions remain, and how this project developed into research on Saw-whet Owls.  His presentation should not be missed whenever the Lloyd Center is lucky enough to have him back!