Children save owlet from a crow attack in Ogimi

Children save owlet from a crow attack in Ogimi

Pupils saved a baby owl from a crow attack at Kijoka Elementary School on June 4. (Photograph taken by Hinata Taira.)

June 25, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

On June 4, 14 pupils from fifth and sixth grade of Kijoka Elementary School in Ogimi saved a baby Ryukyu collared scops owl (Otus lempiji pryeri) from a crow attack and returned the bird to the parent. They were delighted the owlet was returned safely. The pupils said that they would continue bird-watching in the future.

The children found the baby owl on a banyan tree in front of a classroom during their morning meeting on June 4. “The bird had eyes like those of cat,” a six grade pupil Kai Kawamura said. After school, the owlet was attacked by a crow. The pupils who were playing in school at that time scared off the crow and saved the baby bird. After taking pictures of the owlet to keep as a record, they placed the bird on a branch of a tree at the backyard of the school, where the parent bird lives. On June 5, the pupils confirmed that a parent and baby bird were perched together on the branch of the tree.

Takumi Inafuku, a sixth-grade pupil and one of the students who saved the bird, said, “I think the baby bird was very scared. It was good being able to help the bird.” Kendai Miyagi and Ginji Higa , who are both fifth-grade pupils, have taken photographs and videos of the bird. Hinata Taira, a fifth-grade pupil, said, “It felt very soft and fluffy when I touched it. I was impressed to see a parent bird come to get the baby.”

Pupils at Kijoka Elementary School have been holding a bird-watching activity since 1998 thanks to guidance and training from Toyoko Ichida, a member of the NPO Yambaru Forest Trust. Kijoka Elemenary School received the Minister of the Environment Award at the 47th Meeting for Presentation on Protection Activities of Wildlife in 2012.

Harue Yamashiro, a homeroom teacher, said, “Children were watching the parent bird that came to pick up its owl. This is a wonderful experience for them.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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