International Festival of Owls, to be held March 2-4 is for local folks too

Karla Bloem, the director/naturalist at the Houston Nature Center and Alice the great horned owl. Photo by Sue Fletcher

By Karla Bloem
Houston Nature Center

You barely feel the slightest movement of air as a barn owl flies silently over your head. See a live snowy owl up close and personal.  Eat owl face pancakes with real maple syrup. Build an owl nest box to take home and put up to attract owls at your home. You can have these and other memory-making experiences at the 10th annual International Festival of Owls March 2-4 in Houston.

The Festival earns its international reputation from speakers from around the world. This year will feature Tracy Eccles, host of the Potted Plant Owl webcam from South Africa and Prof. Dr. Michael Wink from Germany, who has studied DNA of most of the world’s owl species.

If you’re not into the more scientific aspects of owls, you’ll still find plenty of fun at the Festival for all ages. The live owl programs are the most popular part of the Festival by far. They are so popular in fact, that it is strongly recommended that you consider attending the live owl programs on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon because the Saturday morning program can be standing room only.

Kids can have their faces painted like owls, make owl crafts, eat owl-themed treats, hoot like an owl in the kids owl calling contest and more.

Adults will enjoy entertaining and informative presentations by North American snowy owl expert Denver Holt from the Owl Research Institute in Charlo, Mont., author Laura Erickson from Duluth and great horned owl expert Karla Bloem from Houston in addition to the international speakers.

People of all ages will enjoy getting outside on the Root River Trail at the new Snowy Owl Safe Families Expedition on Sunday, hunting for the medallion or joining an expert-led owl prowl on Friday night.

The International Festival of Owls is the only full-weekend, all-owl event in North America, with over 1,000 people attending each year. Be sure to go to for full details and to register, or contact the Houston Nature Center at 507-896-HOOT (4668).