Owl Books for Young Readers (Pre-K and Elementary School)

Those Outrageous Owls by Laura Wyatt

Owls are outrageous birds.  Using real photographs, this book answers 20 questions and tells you all about these outrageous creatures.

  • When do owls sleep?
  • Why do horned owls have horns?
  • How do owls fly so quietly?
  • Why are owls’ eyes so big and why do they look so wise?
  • Can an owl turn its head all the way around?
  • Why are owls important to us?

And you can make a fun owl from a paper bag and some leaves, paper plates and another from heart shapes.


Buffy the Burrowing Owl by Betty Gilbert – Buffy is a Florida Burrowing Owl

Betty Gilbert’s delightful story about South Florida’s beloved pint-sized owls introduces her readers to one of her favorite birds. His name is Buffy, and through Gilbert’s engaging narrative and remarkable photographs, we are given an intimate and fascinating peek into Buffy s family life. This is a book that will capture the imagination of children of all ages, but more important, it teaches young readers to appreciate and respect a species that has somehow managed to survive among humans in an urban environment as development continues to encroach on its natural habitat.  Betty Gilbert’s portrayal of a burrowing owl family’s day-to-day life is informed and accurate.


My Little Book of Burrowing Owls (My Little Book Series) by Hope Irvin Marston

This book is a delightful story about a new family of western burrowing owls. From the parents’ preparation of the burrow, to the hatching of seven hungry babies that learn to hunt, fly, and survive in a sometimes dangerous world.  This beautifully illustrated book is ideal for introducing young children to the wonders of nature.


Reggie the Burrowing Owl: The True Adventures of When a Family Found and Raised a Burrowing Owl by Thomas J Wood and Derrick Wood

This is the story about how one, little orphaned burrowing owl brought five children and their parents together on a mission to care for him as best they could.  And in doing so learned that – there’s no such thing as an ordinary day with a burrowing owl around.  Though our days revolved around Reggie, it is the unique way Reggie impacted our once ordinary lives and those around us which makes this story so special.  Reggie is a western burrowing owl.  This book is very positive and sends all the right messages. Reggie does pass away in the book but it is handled well.  This book has a companion coloring book.


Reggie the Burrowing Owl Coloring Book by Thomas J Wood and Derrick Wood

Reggie is a western burrowing owl.  A companion coloring book.

Owl Crafts for Young Students

Paper Plate Owl Masks:  Students can make paper plate owl masks using a paper plate.  Supplies needed for the craft are a paper plate and a tongue depressor for each student and scissors, tape and crayons.  The children cut out eye holes for their mask, color the owl’s face and tape the tongue depressor on the back.  The craft will take about 10-15 minutes.  This craft can also be done for screech owls by letting the children draw ear tufts on the plate.  All crafts are combined with a visit to the school’s owls.  It is quite fun to take the students outside and watch the owls and let them simulate flying.


Paper Bag Owls:  Students can make burrowing owls using paper bags and native leaves for the face, eyes, and beak.  In Florida, the native Sea Grape leaf makes a great face for the owls.  If the students are learning about screech owls, they need only to add ear tufts and this craft works great for both types of owls.  We teach students about the differences in Florida’s small owls, they make the owl of their choice and then when we go outside, they simulate finding a good home, in the ground with plenty of visibility if they are a burrowing owl and in a tree with good cover if they are a screech owl.


Pine Cone Owls: Children can use cotton to add fluff to the pine cone.  The using colored paper they can make a beak, eyes and feet and attach it to the pine cone.  Pine cones string easily for hanging and the owl colony can be hung in the classroom first and then sent home.  They make great holiday ornaments and gifts for parents.


Papier-Mache Owls:  Materials needed include small balloons, 8 to 9-inch strips of newspaper, flour and water to make a thick creamy paste and tempera paint in brown, white, black and yellow to paint the owl.  See full directions in a Guide to Using Hoot in the Classroom (below).


Drawing an Owl: Birdoarable has a great burrowing owl coloring page that whose content applies to both western and Florida burrowing owls.  There is a QRC code that children can use to follow the link and find other rare and endangered birds. www.birdorable.com

Burrowing Owl Presentations for Young Students

Burrowing Owls: Superheroes of the Bird World and Our Florida Environment

Teach your students about Burrowing owls, their special adaptations and the role they play in our Florida environment.  After the children have seen the presentation, we make either paper plate owl masks or paper bag owls and they can either go visit the owls at their school.  Supplies needed for the craft are a paper plate and a tongue depressor for each student and tape and crayons.  The presentation should take about 10-15 minutes and the craft is about the same.

Owl Books for More Advanced Readers (Middle School)

The Comeback Kids, Book 8, The Antioch Burrowing Owl

In this book, students travel to Antioch, California, near San Francisco, to see burrowing owls in a habitat that is being encroached upon by development.  Yet, in spite of this, the burrowing owl has continued to survive; and it is the hope of the author and photographer that they will continue to do so.  Students enjoy the photography of John D. Weigand and the poetry of Penelope Dyan, as they see how burrowing owls make their comeback in Antioch by nesting among the abandoned construction.  This book teaches students that protected species should be just that, protected, and these tiny “Comeback Kids” deserve to stay right where they are, that we can learn to live with nature and become one with it.

Hoot by Carl Hiassen

In his first novel for a younger audience, Carl Hiaasen (Basket Case, etc.) plunges readers right into the middle of an ecological mystery, made up of endangered miniature owls, the Mother Paula’s All-American Pancake House scheduled to be built over their burrows, and the owls’ unlikely allies–three middle school kids determined to beat the screwed-up adult system. Hiaasen’s tongue is firmly in cheek as he successfully cuts his slapstick sense of humor down to kid-size. Sure to be a hoot, er, hit with middle school mystery fans. (Ages 10 to 15) –Jennifer Hubert


A Guide for Using Hoot in the Classroom by Melissa Hart, MFA

For teachers, so they can bring Hoot into the classroom and have it tied in with core curriculum.  It includes in class lessons with curriculum connections, vocabulary, unit tests and develops critical thinking.


Hoot the Movie Directed by Wil Shriner

This is a nice medium to combine with reading the book.  From Walden Media (The Chronicles of Narnia franchise) and based on the best-selling book, Hoot is a classic story that is fun for all ages. When a boy and his classmates realize that a population of endangered, burrowing owls is threatened by new construction, the kids decide to take on crooked politicians and bumbling cops in the hope of saving their new friends.

Owling; Enter the World of the Mysterious Birds of the Night by Mark Wilson

Owling invites young readers into the world of real-life owls, to learn about their fascinating behaviors and abilities.  Wildlife photojournalist and nature educator Mark Wilson presents a one-of-a-kind look into the mysterious lives of these distinctive birds. Dramatic images of the 19 owl species of North America nesting, flying, hunting, and catching prey are accompanied by information about the birds’ silent flight, remarkable eyes and ears, haunting calls, and fascinating night life. Kids will learn how to spot owls; identify their calls, plumage, and pellets; and even carry on a hooting conversation with a nearby owl.  This book was a 2020 AAAS/Subaru Children’s Science Book winner.

Burrowing Owl Presentations for Middle School Students

Burrowing Owl Basics

Teach your students about Burrowing owls, their special adaptations and the role they play in our Florida environment.  After the children have seen the presentation, they can go visit the owls at their school.  The presentation should take about 10-15 minutes, longer if the students discuss the owls at their school and how to better protect them.  This presentation is often the start of a project at the school to protect natural burrows or install artificial burrows.

Art Projects for School Students

How to Draw Owls with Step-by-Step Drawing Lesson


They have put together a step-by-step tutorial that will help students figure out how to draw owls by using simple shapes to build up their form.  This is an easy illustrative tutorial that kids, teens and adults will enjoy.  To tailor it for the burrowing owl, remember to not draw the ear tufts.  Even some younger children might be able to draw owls if the teacher stands by to help with the instructions. (All ages)


Directed Draw for an Owl   http://spittin-toad.blogspot.com/2011/07/kids-artdrawing-owls.html  Denise from Spittin-Toad drew the owl using several different references and numbered each step, so it would be easy to share with a class.  The teacher draws along on the whiteboard so the children can follow.  Step 1 is to draw two circles for eyes, and then the beak one line at a time.  She recommends simple terms, like an upside smile for the top of the beak.  Remind students to draw softly in pencil as some parts will need erasing.  To customize for a burrowing owl, simply do not make the ear tufts.  Any medium can be used to color the owl in with, watercolors, oil pastels or markers.   (Ages 8-13)


How to Draw an Owl by Drago Art

Attached is a how to draw owls that includes burrowing owls!  You can get it for free on the web at Drago Art.com.  Their site has advertising that may be inappropriate for students, so the attached version is cleaned up a bit for typos and grammar errors, and is school approved.