(Courtesy DWR)

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and Great Basin Rehabilitation are releasing “Creatures of the Night” on Saturday, October 30th in celebration of Halloween.

Four barn owls which were orphaned and successfully raised by Patti Richards of Great Basin Rehabilitation will be released at 10:00 a.m. at Utah Lake State Park and the public is invited. To reach the State Park, take the Provo Center Street exit from I-15 and drive west until you enter the State Park. The release site will be at the parking lot just past the entry booth. The owls were given to Richards as chicks
(also known as owlets). They are now mature and have shown the ability to successfully fly and to capture prey. Patti Richards and DWR Outreach Manager, Scott Root will talk briefly about owl facts, allow the public and media to photograph the owls and then release the owls into the wild. The event shouldn’t last more than 30 minutes.

Barn owls are nocturnal (hunt at night) and are a very welcome guest to the many farmers around Utah Lake because of their ability to capture rodents. Those attending the event will have free entry into the park during the event.

A few owl facts:

- Barn owls are called many other names including “Ghost owls”, “Hobgoblins” or “Demon Owls”

-Throughout history, owls have been associated with superstitious beliefs. Few other creatures have so many different and contradictory beliefs about them. Owls have been feared, despised and admired, considered wise and foolish, and associated with witchcraft and medicine, the weather, birth and death.

-Utah Valley has one of the largest barn owl populations in Utah.

-Barn owls are easily recognizable by their “heart-shaped” face.

-Barn owls have shown that by using their hearing they can catch prey in total darkness.

-Their soft , downy feathers enable them to fly in near silence, making them virtually undetectable to their prey.

-Because they often fly low, they are often hit by cars on the many busy roads and freeways in the state.

-The barn owl is one of the most wide-spread of all land birds. They are found on all continents except for Antartica.