When the Wildlife Center began streaming live web cam footage of three orphaned Bald Eagles in April 2011, we were introduced to many new friends across the world -- including many teachers who use web cams in the classroom to teach their students.
One fifth-grade teacher in Bullhead City, Arizona adopted an education animal for her classroom through the Wildlife Center's Caring for Critters program. Mrs. Matheson's class selected Misty, a Barred Owl, and the lesson plans began. Mrs. Matheson centered several of her math, vocabulary, and science lessons around Misty's story, natural history, and even weekly weights!
Sadly, in September 2011, Misty the Barred Owl managed to escape at a local event. Despite prolonged search attempts, Misty was not recovered. Mrs. Matheson's class continued learning about Barred Owls and included Misty in their lesson plans -- but we also sent along adoption information about Gustavo, another education Barred Owl (and Misty's former roommate).
One assignment that Mrs. Matheson gave to her students this fall was a narrative writing assignment. Their topic: a day with Misty in Arizona. The story was to have a beginning, middle, and end and was geared toward an audience of their fellow classmates. Mrs. Matheson's writing prompt was: "You hear a tapping sound at your door. You open the door and are surprised to find Misty sitting there. Write a personal experience about your day with Misty." Students were to have a clear sequence of events, use descriptive words and phrases, and be creative.
Center staff enjoyed reading these creative and imaginative stories, and we're happy to be able to share. Stay tuned for other assignments from Mrs. Matheson's class, showcasing how one teacher's use of the Critter Cam, moderated discussion, and Caring for Critters is impacting her students' educations -- and lives!
My Surprise Guest
by Mrs. Matheson
One Saturday as I was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper, I heard a soft tapping noise at the front door. I was mystified as to who could possibly be at my door so early in the morning. Setting down the paper, I went to the door and open it cautiously. Much to my surprise, a barred owl was perched on the sidewalk.
This owl was gorgeous! She was not quite two feet tall. Her head was round and didn’t have any ear tufts like the great horned owl. What I found mesmerizing were her dark eyes. They were dark, like the sky at midnight. Her feathers were brown and white, but what was amazing was that they made a ruff, or collar under her head. On her chest, the same colored feathers created a striped pattern. It was then I noticed the leather jesses around her ankles.
“Misty?” I asked, incredulously.
The owl replied with a soft hoot that sounded like “Who cooks for you?”
I was stunned. Here, perched in front of me was the owl that my class had chosen for adoption from the Wildlife Center of Virginia.
“My goodness! You must be exhausted!” I exclaimed as I opened the screen door, “Come in.”
Misty hopped past me into the house. She followed me into the kitchen, where I pulled out a chair for her. She flew to the top of the chair back, perching delicately there. I sat opposite her, wondering how this two foot, one pound owl had managed to fly over 2,000 miles cross country. Even more puzzling was how did she know where I lived? In answer to my unasked question, Misty pulled a small piece of paper from beneath her feathers. It was a print out from a computer with my address on it. I stared at it for a few minutes.
“Did you get this from the Wildlife Center?” I inquired. I received a silent nod in reply.
I sighed. “Misty,” I said quietly, “I’m touched you wanted to come visit my class and me, but it’s our Fall Break. School doesn’t start until next week. You can’t stay here. First, Miss Amanda and everyone will be worried about you. Second, barred owls don’t live this far west. This is a desert and much too hot for you. Your home is in Virginia.”
Misty hung her head. I could tell she was sad. It broke my heart to see those beautiful brown pools filled with tears of sadness. I thought of what could be done to fix the situation.
“I know,” I stated, snapping my fingers. “I think Miss Amanda will let us write to you, and may we can call each other on the phone.” Misty’s eyes brightened. It’s difficult to say that she smiled, but I honestly think she did.
I grabbed my phone and called Miss Amanda at the Wildlife Center. At first she didn’t believe me that Misty was in my kitchen, but I finally was able to convince her I was telling the truth. She took the next flight out to bring Misty home to Virginia.
Now, we call Misty every Friday, and tell her what we’ve been learning. Miss Amanda says it’s strange to have an owl in her office on the phone, but she’s getting accustomed to it. She says that she hears Misty hooting at Gus a lot after each call; perhaps she’s teaching him the multiplication facts.
A Day with Misty
I heard a tapping sound at my door. I opened the door and there was Misty. We went for a walk in the park. Then we stopped for a drink at a store. We went back to my house to play games outside of my house. We went to watch a movie at my house. After that we went for ice-cream, Misty favorite flavor is strawberry and my favorite is chocolate!
Then we both went back to my house. I remembered to call Miss Amanda she said Misty will be home by tomorrow!
My Day with Misty
One day Misty went to my doorstep and knocked on the door and I answer so surprised I screamed Misty! I called my mom and she said she’s so cute and we went to a Misty Day! First we went to park to play on the jungle gym. Then we jumped into the river. Then we went for some ice cream. I got rainbow sherbet Misty got Vilna with mouse on top. After I took her to the carnival we played on all the rides then we got hungry so we got a snack (Nachos).
Then it was getting late so I took her to a fabulous dinner at catch-A-mouse dinner. She got mouse liver and I got steak. Then she told me she going back with Gus at the Wildlife Center and I said okay and she flew away and I said ill see some other time. And on Sunday I got mail it was pictures of Misty and Gus eating at catch- a- mouse-dinner and I got a message to it said Genesis me(Misty)and Gus want to go see u again So That Was My Day.
My Day with Misty!
One day I was sitting down on the couch, watching movies. In the movie the lady heard starching at her door. She opened the door there was a monster that roared. When the movie was over I had lay their terrified. As I got up to go to bed I heard tapping at my door I was scared. I opened the door and saw Misty there, I was so happy to see her.
We went to the park to play Frisbee she had won because she had caught it by flying, we had played for hours. Then we went to the theaters and watched sponge bob in 4-D.
After we went and ate sushi I don’t like it so I ordered shrimp for dinner. Well it’s time to go home. The sun is fading away behind a tall mountain. We went home and had a slumber party. I told Misty. I had a fun day! In the morning I heard knocking at the door it reminded me of the movie. I answered it. I was so surprised to see Ms. Amanda she came to pick up Misty.
She left with Misty have a nice flight back! I shouted. So that’s my day with Misty!
I Found Misty
One day in Friday, I heard a tap, tap, tap at my door. I went up on the door and opened it as an owl is waiting on the other side. It’s Misty! I made a track of dead mice. Well there goes my rat problem. When Misty is eating the rats, I slip one in pocket. Then I make a tent for her. Finally I dial the phone number. Miss Amanda answers and said they already have her. Bye –bye, Misty.
A Day with Misty
One Wednesday night, at 1:30am to be exact, I was listening to music and doing my homework. You know the usual. When the song was over I heard a light tapping sound at the door. I set my things down and slid my iPod into my back pocket. There was a hammer laying on the counter. I grabbed it and swung open the door. I stepped out a bit and swung the hammer in the air. Yes I know dangerous move but who knocks on a little girl’s door at 1:30 the am bro? Only creepers duh. There was a soft hooting sound. I looked down, it was Misty. As soon as I looked at her she flew inside. She was making lots of noise. I yelled desperately “Misty stop you’re going to wake up my parents.” She stopped and landed on the couch next to me. I asked her “Uhmm. Why are you here? You’re supposed to be in Virginia. Not Arizona. Virginiaaaaaaaa.” I said slowly Virginia slowly. Misty started talking like REAL human English. It was freaked me out. Because it’s really weird for an owl to speak real human English. Anyways back to the story. She replied in a soft voice “well to be honest I didn’t like it there.” I asked “What? Why? They fed you. For free.” Misty grabbed my black and blue pencil that was sitting on the table and put it in her talons. After a few minutes she hopped over beside me. The piece of paper was filled with doodles. The main drawing was an owl sitting in a tree with the moon shining on it. My jaw dropped. I was in awe. For an owl she was an amazing artist. I loved it. I put my things away and layed down on the couch and drifted off into dream land.
I woke up like way early. Misty was sitting on my bedside table. I smiled and said “you’re going home today Misty” I changed out of my pajamas and into my red ‘IWrestledABearOnce’ band t-shirt, neon green ripped jeans, and bright pink converse. My mum had already found out about Misty last night. She had already bought plane tickets and a cage. When I went to get the cage Misty was already sitting in it. I told my mum I was ready to go. We put the stuff in the car and left. It took a few hours to get to the airport. Plane rides are boring. I hate them. When we got to Virginia, I knew exactly were the wildlife center was. I wrote the address down on my hand. When we got to the wildlife center I took Misty and brought her in. The lady at the front desk gasped and smiled. I set Misty’s cage on the desk and said goodbye. She asked “How did you find her?” I replied “She turned up at my doorstep at 1:30AM while I was listening to music and doing my homework. I thought she was a creeper.” The lady giggled and told us we could leave. After the plane ride and when I got home I went to sleep thinking about how happy I made some people.
A DAY WITH MISTY
It was a Saturday morning. My mom was making breakfast, my dad was watching TV, and I was playing my games. Then I heard a tapping sound at my door, and Misty I did not know what to say I went blank for a minute… I told my dad to go see if there was any mouse under the house, and I told my mom to get some water for Misty. We got her filed up on food and water. So I thought to keep Misty.
Until she was good enough to fly back to Virginia. So on the mean time we were having fun, we even went to the race track .We saw my dad won his race, but not my brother. After that we went home. When I got home I saw Mr. Ed Clark and Ms. Amanda. When we saw them we ran off they tried to catch us, they could not. Then I decided to give them Misty.
Misty’s Excellent Day
Today is an excellent day I thought to myself. I am going to watch TV. What is that tapping sound I asked to myself? Will it’s not the TV, not my dog then what could it be? I looked out the window and there were no birds outside. Let me open the door. I opened the door and there was Misty. Misty did you come all the way here? Come let me give some water.
Next I ‘am going to call Miss. Amanda
“Miss. Amanda Misty is all right”
“What do you mean?”
“That Misty is at my house.”
“Okay thank you were on our way bye.”
You little girl were going to have to take you to the vet. The doctor said that your eyes are ok. What do you what to do next? Wait I bet you’re hungry, so I ‘am going to get you some dead mice.
“Misty today we’re going to have to have the best day of our life’s. Misty would you love to have some mice ice cream?”
“We would love to have mice ice cream with gummy bears, and dead mice”.
Will Misty I think you would love to go shopping , and I think a new hair do will make your day excellent. Well let’s go.
Wow this will look so cute on you, will let’s try it on. Wow it looks so excellent on you. Well let’s get your hair done. Wow you look so cuter than you used to be.
Misty we had a great day today but we better get going because Miss. Amanda is on her way.
“Misty look there she is”!
“Hi Miss. Amanda here is Misty and all her things”.
“Well thank you”.
"Have a good day Misty bye Misty bye”.
A DAY WITH MISTY
Saturday I heard a tapping at my door and it was Misty. I went to tie my dog up so he doesn’t eat Misty. I did not know way she is here at my house she live over 2,000 miles from me.
I went to find a dead rat and water because she traveled over 2000 miles so I think she want to eat.
At 11:00pm I untie my dog. Then I went to take her back. So she can be safe in her cage with Gus. The next day I went home and went to bed and that was my day with Misty.
Misty’s Way Home
I was in bed sleeping at 900m I heard a tapping sound I open the door and saw nothing. Then I saw a shadow that looked like a owl I said naaaaa that can’t be. Hoohoohoo what the. Misty why are you here? I turn on the TV. It said breaking news an owl from the Wildlife Center is missing oh my why did you came here. Why hoo hoa hoo ummm
Are you ok well I got to feed you do you want something to eat? hoo . I take that as a yes do you want a mouse pizza yeah ok let find dead mice do you want that?
My Day with Misty
One day I heard tapping on the door. I opened the door and suddenly Misty dashed inside! I was so surprised! I locked my dogs outside as I tried to catch her.
After I caught her we went out for mouse ice-cream. She loved the ice-cream! I was thinking of sending her back. But I just kept on playing with Misty. We played tag, hide and seek, and she taught me some owl sounds. After all that it was dark. I bought 1 airplane ticket to Virginia and took a taxi to WCV. After that I went home.
A WEIRD BUT A COOL DAY
BY: ALEX AVELAR
I heard tapping on my door I opened my door, and I saw Misty! I went to get a book. Misty got on the spine of the book.
I took Misty to my cousins, and I feed her a mouse I found. My cousins had a blast with Misty. Natalie panted her nails, and Camilla played the Wii or tried at least. Then Angel came Angel ran and Misty flew. I was on their computer on the Wildlifecenter.org (web site) I told Mrs. Amanda and I found Misty and told her where I live.
The next day Mrs. Amanda picked up Misty. Later that day I heard more tapping. It was Misty and NX!!!! I was surprised it was Fantastic, and how did they get here? My sisters got out of bed. ”WHAT THE!!” Teresa yelled. “Calm down there not staying forever.” I said. “No not that that.” Teresa said. “OH NO!!” Sarah and Cloe said. I heard knocking on the door. “Hello Alex, Misty, and NX” Mrs. Amanda “I have good news Misty can visit one time each month okay bye now.” THE END
A DAY WITH MISTY, A BARRED OWL
One day I heard a tapping noise on my door step. I opened the door and there I found Misty. That was really a shocking thing that Misty was at my door step, it was more than shocking to me it was thrilling.
Then I told my mom that I was going to go get mice ice cream, my mom looked at me weird. Then she said ok. So when I got Misty her ice cream and told her that she can’t stay here up. She was on a plane to Virginia.
I went to get the phone to call Mrs. Amanda that Misty was at my door step. Then she sent animal control. They came to pick her up. She was on a plane to Virginia. By Asia
DAY WITH MISTY
Saturday morning my dogs were barking at the door then I open the door and Misty was there. I put my dogs in the backyard and my dogs started barking a lot. Then my cat was sacred of the big bird.
My cat ran into my mom’s room under the bed .I take Misty to find some dead mice for Misty can eat if she was hungry. Put the mice in the ice cream and me some ice cream too. We eat are ice cream on the curb.
I wish I can keep Misty all day long but I cannot. I called Miss. Amanda so I take Misty to Miss. Amanda. Then I want back home and went to sleep.
MY MISTY DAY
One day, it was a Saturday morning to be exact at 7:36 A.M. I was eating delicious eggs and bacon. All of a sudden I heard a noise at my door. I thought and thought. I opened it and Misty was right there on my second door step. I said” come in please come in.” She came in and first we played Twister. Next we ate lunch. Third we went out for dinner. So we left.
We went to Micegrandes Buffet. The waiter said “what you two like today.” I said an apple tea. Misty will have Mice. A mice is a cherry pie with a dead mouse in the middle. I asked for two because I am going to give her my mouse. When we get home I am going to make her a bed. I will get her two blankets one to lay on and one to cover up with.
I will get her a pillow to lay her head on. We went to bed. Next day we started all over again except there were SIX MISTYS!!!
By: Destiny Gray
A DAY WITH MISTY
If I see Misty tapping on my door. I’ll keep her if nobody’s looking for her in a week. I will make sure she’s ok. I’ll give some dead mice to her. I’ll give Misty something to drink. I’ll keep her inside warm. I’ll take her outside to get some ice-cream. Misty and I went to the park to eat some chicken, pizza, and some hot dog.
I took Misty to Vegas. Misty and I went to my cousin house it was it was the best day ever. We went to the mall we didn’t buy much .We went back to Bullhead and went to a party. When we came back to Bullhead City. Misty got sick when we came back .Misty went to the store and I did not know she left. Misty came back 5 weeks later.
I got mad not that mad. I took her to the store to buy Powerade. We also bought dead mice for misty. She saw my Dog and got scared. Misty bought black ops for Jose, Edgar ,and John.
Once when I woke up at 8:30 it was in a Saturday morning. I heard something at my door I check who It was my uncle that got back from work, I lock the door. I turned on my ps3, put the game of Call of Duty Black Ops. 20 minutes later I heard another sound and it sound like Who Who Who cooks for you.
I opened the door and I was excited because it was Misty. I hugged Misty. She poked in my cheek bone it hurt because I have fat cheek bones. I brought Misty some water, and I brought her some dead mice. I went to the river and we ate some Carne Asada. Misty had a great time eating Carne Asada. Misty loves water and so do I. Misty and I went back home.
When I got home Misty brought me my control. Misty and I played call of duty black ops Misty and I had a great time playing together. Misty loves pepperoni pizza and so do I Misty is the nicest bird in the world. Misty loves everybody. At 11:30 Misty was asleep in my bed. Misty grabbed a soda. The next morning Misty went back to Virginia.
In my House I will feed her mice. My house has mice. Come in you have to come in hunt. Will lake that Misty. Come to my house . Then I will give a mouse. Will say bye to Misty I will gave mice to Misty. I will say thank you to Misty. I think she is beautiful.
My Day with Misty
When I saw something outside and it was brown, white And black eyes and it was standing doing nothing. I thought it was Misty then I said ‘’Misty that is you’’. It was in my front door tapping the door then I got Some mice on a bag I only had 5 mice’s from the garage.
I opened the door for Misty was outside my backyard I said ‘’come, come it went flying to my hand standing eating the mice’s I gave her. There was 5 mice’s in my hand with gloves and that were dead then Misty ate all of them in 1 minute and it liked me as a friend.
Then we went to the park to have some fun and we went to get some ice cream and Misty liked it then there was a store of mice, and rats. I went inside the store then the person said ’’hello’’. I said ‘’ hello’’. The person said what is that in your hand and I said it is a barred owl and her name is Misty.
The person said what do you want from the store the person said. I said ‘’how many for 10 mice’s then the person said it cost $3.00. I said ok and the person gave me the 10 dead mice’s in a bag and I gave the person $3.00.
I said were do you want to go next. I did not understand Misty so we went outside my backyard.
A DAY WITH MISTY
I heard a tapping sound at the door. I was playing video games with my brother. I was thinking about Misty I opened the door and it was Misty. I wondered how did she. SO WEIRD.
My dog came running out the door. I put him in the cage. ‘’You bad dog ‘’I said. I told my brother ‘’I’ll be back’’ OK he said. ’’Misty how did you get here Misty’’ I said.
She got on my shoulder I said ‘’Let’s go to Pet Smart. I got dead mice and worms and cense she got to eat. I got ice cream. But she got my ice cream and flew away. While she was gone other ice cream and enjoyed it. She came back.
Since she was still hungry we went to a restaurant. When we their Misty hooted WHO WHOWHO COOKS FOR YOU .Everyone laughed.’ ’You’re so funny Misty. “I’m like what type of restaurant is this. Letting animals in. Well what do you want today asked the waiter asked.’’I guess dead mice for Misty and salad for me.” Anything else? Oh and a Raspberry ice tea for me. We got home. But when got home she went crazy. I put her in one of my old bird cage. I didn’t want to but I had to. So I talked to her. ‘
’Why did even get out of the Wild Life Center.” She hooted. That’s not funny anymore. We have to get you back home.”
She hooted again but different, like she was saying no. I said loudly, “But you have to go back home with your friend, Gus. It’s not that I don’t want you.”
The next day I went to school. I told the story but no one believed me, so the next day I brought Misty to prove to them. In came Mrs. DeBraal, with her mouth open. Mrs. Matheson said, “Is that Misty?”
“That’s right,” I said, “And we have to get her back to the Wildlife Center, o.k.”
Everybody asked, “Can we have a field trip?”
“How?” asked Mrs. Matheson.
“I had the money to go”, I said. We went to ask Ms. Cochran after breakfast. She said that we had to get a permission slip. If you didn’t bring your permission slip, and you’re ready, we will call your mom for permission. If you don’t bring it, you will stay in Mrs. DeBraal’s room.
The next day, everyone brought their permission slips and I brought the money. So everybody brought their passport. We brought Misty back to the Wildlife Center and we got to see all the other education animals. We got back home safely.