SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) The Nancy Kay Holmes library in Scranton was packed with kids ready to learn about their local birds of prey. Rebecca Lesko is the director and naturalist at the endless mountain nature center. she taught children about adaptations, the food chain, bird calls, and characteristics. They also got to meet three birds of prey, including two owls and a falcon. She says it’s usually a new experience for the children.
“It gets people introducing them to things they don’t see up close. The owls that I have, you can’t – most of the time you’re not going to see them around unless you’re a bird watcher and you really spend time looking. Then most people would love to see them, but they don’t get the opportunity,” Lesko said.
According to Lesko, children’s’ education about the various species in their own backyard is important because it opens their eyes to their impact on the environment.
“Bringing them out like this it gets people–hopefully [it] pulls people’s heartstrings and they want do things that help improve habitat for these animals that are all around them. Especially the screech owls are most the common. To get them to put up nest boxes, and not use pesticides and insecticides because these guys eat insects. So if they eat poisoned ones, it makes them sick. So trying to improve the world this way with exciting them with the live animals and get them outside,” Lesko said.
“I thought it was really cool because I got to learn about a lot of birds like owls and vultures … I like how their head turned and I like how big it was and the claws,” Brody Eynon said.
Lesko says that the children aren’t the only ones excited to see these backyard raptors.
“The children are the reason the parents come but I think the parents actually enjoy it more than the kids,” Lesko said.
She says that the birds she uses during her program are non-releasable.
“They were injured in some way and can’t be put back out in the wild. so they were rehabilitated at the Delaware raptor center in Milford. And when they could not be put back in the wild, they were placed with me to educate people,” Lesko said.
The endless mountains nature center will be closing soon, but Lesko noted the birds will be re-homed and will once again help another education facility.