Owly, Teton Raptor Center’s resident Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) and matriarch of its Avian Ambassadors, turns 20 years old this year! Owly hatched in the wild, so we don’t know her official hatch-day, but we are going to designate March 22, 2022 as the official day to celebrate this year!
“For two decades Owly has inspired wonder about raptors and the natural world throughout our community and beyond. Her 20th Hatch-Day celebration not only recognizes an incredible bird, but also the impact non-releasable birds can have for avian conservation.” stated TRC Executive Director Amy McCarthy.
When Owly was just a few months old, she sustained a broken left wing after being struck by a vehicle on Fall Creek Road in Wilson, Wyoming. This led her to the care of Roger Smith and Margaret Creel, the founders of Teton Raptor Center who started the raptor conservation program out of their home. Unfortunately, Owly’s break extended into her wrist joint and after the bones healed, the joint no longer functioned properly. Since Owly was not releasable back to the wild, she gained a new purpose as the first resident raptor of Teton Raptor Center.
During her first several years as a TRC Avian Ambassador Owly lived at the residence of Margaret Creel and Roger Smith, who had proper permitting through US Fish and Wildlife Service and Wyoming Game and Fish Department to keep her for educational purposes. Thanks in part to Owly’s outstanding service as an Avian Ambassador, TRC quickly outgrew its home-based facilities and is now a nonprofit organization that cares for more than 150 birds a year at its beautiful campus on the historic Moseley/Hardeman Ranch.
To date Owly has interacted with over 150,000 people in her career as an Avian Ambassador with Teton Raptor Center. She has attended over 3,000 programs with schools, members of the Jackson Hole community, and visitors to the area. In addition, Teton Raptor Center volunteers have dedicated 3,470 hours of service to her care. Owly has also consumed 8,320 mice in her 20 years in residence!