The students at Jackson Street had a special visitor this Wednesday in the library thanks to the Jackson Street PTO. Tom Riccardi, of Conway, MA, brought in his Birds of Prey to share with the students. “Does a great horned owl have a good sense of smell?” he asks the students. A few yeses and no’s floated up from the group. “No, and do you know why I know that? What’s the stinkiest animal in the forest?” “Skunks!” a chorus of first graders call out. “Yep! And they love skunks!”
With seven varying sized boxes filled with birds from a small screech owl to a giant golden eagle, Mr. Riccardi patiently went through each bird, walking around the room so all the students could see up close these fascinating birds. He shared the differences in wing shapes and how that impacted the bird’s style of flight. He shared large and small eggs and had the students blinking their eyes to discuss the three eye lids birds have to the one human’s have. Students could share their knowledge too, one student offered, “I know that’s a boy owl because girl owls are larger.” “That’s great, and yes, that’s right!” Mr. Riccardi shared how his interests in birds stemmed from his forth grade teacher and how all the birds he brought in have been injured in some way. Those that can heal he releases back into the wild. He encouraged the students that if they enjoyed something at their age, they might find a career like he did where they get to do it every day.