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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

ERCA’s Owl Prowl invites families to Holiday Beach

by Adam Gault

The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) invited families and nature-minded individuals down to the Holiday Beach Conservation Area on Friday, October 30, to enjoy the fall weather at their new outdoor classroom as part of their “Owl-oween Owl Prowl.”

  The event featured a lesson on the various types of Ontario owls, as well as a guided walk in search of the feathered, nocturnal friends.

  While not a new ERCA activity, as the local conservation authority has hosted Owl Prowls in previous years, this was the first one held at the brand-new outdoor classroom, which was constructed through a generous donation from the University of Windsor’s Alumni Association.

  Held sporadically throughout the year, as to avoid excessive disruption to the owl’s natural habitat and environment, ERCA Education Coordinator, Kris Ives, explained the event is a great way to educate the public about the various species of owls in Essex County, and bring a new appreciation of the Holiday Beach Conservation Area in a nighttime setting.

  “We’re trying to be really careful with COVID. We’re doing two smaller groups instead of our traditional larger group,” Ives said. “On our hike tonight, we’ll specifically be calling for the Eastern Screech Owl and then the Great Horned Owl.”

  The prowl proved to be a popular evening event for families in the area, with both of the 20-person walks selling out in advance of the mild fall evening.

  “Owls are really interesting because they’re a really sort of an apex predator in our ecosystem,” Ives explained. “They have an important job, and as great hunters, they control things like rodent populations.They’re fascinating with their great talons, and their sharp beaks, and incredible eyes.”

  ERCA believes that by continuing to support fun and educational events like the Owl Prowl, a greater appreciation for the region’s natural beauty and wildlife can be attained, to ensure that those natural ecosystems can be enjoyed for generations to come.

  “It’s important to foster appreciation. I think sometimes, particularly, if you don’t live in the county, you might wonder about if we have owls here,” Ives said. “Maybe you haven’t heard them before, and that’s really a magical connection with our environment is to experience something like this.”

  While there may be a few more limited excursions planned for the rest of the year, ERCA continues to offer private guided tours of Holiday Beach throughout the course of the year.

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