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Saturday, Feb 4, 2023

Onlookers Ogle Owls at Annual Quechee Festival

<span class="photocreditinline"><a href="https://middleburycampus.com/35897/uncategorized/nick-garber/">NICK GARBER</a></span><br />Outdoor educators Marcia (left) and Mark Wilson show off a barred owl at the fourth annual Owl Festival at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Quechee on Saturday, Feb. 23.
NICK GARBER
Outdoor educators Marcia (left) and Mark Wilson show off a barred owl at the fourth annual Owl Festival at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Quechee on Saturday, Feb. 23.

QUECHEE – Last weekend, birding enthusiasts and amateurs alike congregated in the Eastern Vermont village of Quechee for the fourth annual Owl Festival, hosted at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS). 

Hundreds of attendees — college students, older couples, families with owl-costumed kids — poured into the VINS campus, ready to meet a few of these predatory birds in the flesh. Or in the feathers.

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NICK GARBER
A VINS employee stands alongside a barred owl.


Scheduled events included “Owls of New England,” “Owl Pellet Dissection” and “Owl vs. Hawk,” where spectators learned about the differences between owls and raptor species like hawks and eagles. VINS rehabilitates these birds, many of whom have suffered permanent flight impairment after being hit by cars or shot by hunters.

Angie McCarthy ’19, who made the 63-mile drive from campus to witness the festival, said her interest in owls had been piqued ever since a barred owl began roosting near her Ridgeline townhouse several months ago. 

“It was exciting to see them up close and personal and really understand him and his patterns”, McCarthy said of her own winged friend. McCarthy left the festival with more than just this knowledge — she also purchased a new pair of owl earrings.

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NICK GARBER
A VINS employee pats the head of a screech owl.


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