It is with sadness and inspiration that we share with you that on October 10th, at 21 years old, Owly, TRC’s matriarch Great Horned Owl, was humanely euthanized due to concerns over her quality of life. TRC staff and volunteers, her lifelong caretakers, bid Owly farewell and celebrated her life by sharing memories, poems, photos, videos, and cake during a Talon Toast in the Hardeman Barn. Owly was TRC’s first Avian Ambassador, arriving at the home of Roger Smith and Margaret Creel in the early fall of 2002 with a broken wing. She famously convalesced in the family’s spare bathroom where Roger and Margaret set up a temporary ICU. When Owly was deemed non-releasable due to the nature of her injury, she became the first Avian Ambassador for what would eventually be Teton Raptor Center.
Owly has since been a staple at TRC participating in 3,142 programs and inspiring 145,039 participants. Professionally photographed, painted by local artists, sketched by students, sculpted in clay by preschoolers, and adored by thousands, Owly has been an inspiration for over two decades. As Roger Smith, TRC co-founder and Owly’s original caretaker has said many times, “There are few wilder places on the planet than looking into the depths of Owly’s eyes.” Owly gave many a window into the wild world of owls and wildlife, and her impact on raptor conservation is immeasurable. We share in your grief over the loss of this beloved feathered friend and we invite you to share memories, stories, and images of Owly, simply by replying to this email. And, inspired by Owly’s key role as our original avian ambassador, we have established “The Owly Fund”, which will support the care and training of current and future avian ambassadors. We invite you to consider a gift to The Owly Fund. You can designate your gift by using the button below and selecting “in memory of Owly” in the form.
We invite you to celebrate Owly’s inspirational life as a “spark bird” for so many over the past 21 years. We hope you enjoy this tribute video.