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SHIRLEY — Licensed owl caretaker Marcia Wilson presented Eyes on Owls to a diverse audience at Hazen Memorial Library.

Leading off the Feb. 24 program sponsored by the Friends of the Hazen Memorial Library, Wilson read “Owl Babies,” written by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Patrick Benson.

Wilson also brought six of her feathered friends. The screech and saw whet owls, the smallest two, came out first.

Wilson doesn’t own the owls, as federal law prohibits owning owls as pets, but she’s their licensed caretaker. She’s only allowed to keep them if they have a lifelong disability.

A strong background in biology and conservation helped train Wilson for the endeavor. Her mother, also an owl caretaker, offered her early exposure to the field, she said.

She told visitors not to be afraid as the snowy owl, which was considerably larger than the others, burst out of its cage. As it emerged, wings flapping, a light wind blew over the people seated in the first few rows.

In lieu of applause for the feathered guests and winners of an end-of-the-program raffle, the group was asked to “flap their wings” for the comfort of the owls.

Two adults volunteered to perform “whitewash duty,” cleaning up after the owls. They placed a vinyl cover over the carpet and removed pellets from the cages to display on pellet trays.

Fresh owl pellets contain parts of the mice that owls can’t digest, said Wilson. Often, the mice’s tiny skulls can be found within, as well as other bones and fur.

The program has been so popular that the trustees are considering another presentation later this year, said friends President Fran Stetson.

The friends have also started a new fund-raising activity, she said.

The Web site allows agencies to sell used books online, she said, and the friends have listed many of the used books donated to the library on the site.

Since December, she said the Web site has generated over $470 for the group.

As the book donations roll in, Stetson and other members sort through them to see which books can sell for higher prices online. As always, the library has several shelves of high-quality books for sale, she noted.

Thanks to the friends, the library also has two new sets of museum passes: one to Boston’s John F. Kennedy Library and Museum and one to Higgins Armory in Worcester.

In the summer, the friends group plans to host a program by the Higgins Armory, said Stetson, although the date has yet to be confirmed.

For information call (978) 425-2620 or visit

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