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For these preschoolers, Tuesday was for the birds -- literally
birds fullAlthough district preschoolers were fascinated by their up-close visit with birds, a turtle and a rabbit, they couldn’t resist the play area at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary. This group worked their way across an elastic line without slipping off.

      There was no rain in sight, the sun was shining and it was a perfect Tuesday morning for some of Mansfield City Schools’ youngest students to visit the Ohio Bird Sanctuary west of the city.

      Three pre-kindergarten classes from Springmill STEM Elementary arrived at the sanctuary at 9:30 a.m. for visits to the sanctuary’s nature center, aviary and visitors center.

      Gail Laux, founder and executive director, and staff members led the tours.

      During the course of the morning the children saw all types of birds housed there, along with up-close encounters with an Eastern box turtle and a Netherlands dwarf rabbit, two of the sanctuary’s “non-avian animal ambassadors.”

      The sanctuary’s mission is centered on rehabilitation of native species of birds. The goal is always to release admitted injured and orphaned birds back into the wild. However, that is not always possible.

      The sanctuary has 60 permanent residents, including owls, hawks, eagles, vultures and songbirds.