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Whooo Are Owls?

"Whooo Are Owls?" episode art. Owl sitting on tree branch.


NGSS Standards:



Crosscutting Concept:

Cause and Effect

Transcript - Whooo Are Owls
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What are the origins of owls, and why do they stay up at night? We answer questions from two owl-curious Tumble listeners. with the help of Harvard ornithologist Dr. Scott Edwards. He takes us on a journey starting in the time of the dinosaurs, to unravel the secrets of what made owls WHOOOO they are today.


In the episode, Scott Edwards is looking at the bird family tree on his computer, to help explain where owls came from. Here's the image:

Bird family tree

It comes from this scientific paper, where you can read all the sciencey language about how scientists put it together!

At the end of the show, we challenge listeners to put their own artistic spin on this tree.

Here's a few other visualizations of bird family trees, to inspire you.

This one is for tropical contingas:

Tropical contingas bird family tree. Circular pattern
Bird Tree of Life chart

Email yours to us at! We'd love to see it.


Scott is an expert in ALL KINDS of birds.

Photo of Scott Edwards

Here's a video of Scott explaining his research and work as a curator in a museum:

Scott also LOVES to get outside, as a birder and a biker. He did this for a great cause last summer.

SPONSORED: The Turing Tumble!

This episode was created with support from Turing Tumble. (No, we don't make this game! But we do think it's a splendid name.) It's a great educational game. Check it out how it works.

Go to and enter code TUMBLE at checkout for 10% off (valid in Spring 2021.)


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