Raptors, Birds of Wisconsin

Welcome Our New Great Horned Owl, Zari!

Schlitz Audubon is excited to announce the addition of a new Great Horned Owl to our Raptor Program. Zari, a female owl, was hatched in 2016. The details of her young life are not fully documented, but she arrived at a wildlife rehabilitation hospital as a fledgling and was quickly deemed to be imprinted.

Imprinted birds cannot be released into the wild, as they associate too closely with humans. She was transferred to Anderson Humane Society in South Elgin, Illinois, where she was a part of their animal ambassador program for a few years.

Anderson Humane Society dedicated valuable time and effort toward training Zari to be a successful ambassador. Unfortunately, the department was shut down and Zari needed to find a new home. Our raptor staff contacted them, and it was quickly decided that Schlitz Audubon would be the perfect match for her. As a raptor ambassador within our Raptor Program, Zari will educate thousands of people about the wildlife of Wisconsin and inspire others to care for the natural world around them.

Importance of Great Horned Owls

Great Horned Owls are an essential component to our natural ecosystems. They are apex predators: they are on the top of the food chain and ensure a healthy balance between predators and prey. Without predators like Great Horned Owls, prey species would overpopulate, causing an increased spread of disease, crop destruction, and damage to habitats and homes.

Great Horned Owls are known as the ‘Tiger of the Sky’: they have an impressive grip strength of 500psi (an average human is 50-70 psi) and can take down prey as large as a skunk or raccoon. Even so, they hunt primarily rabbits and squirrels. They are the earliest nesters of Wisconsin birds, laying eggs in early January in the depths of winter. Their young fledge by early April and are already practicing their strong fights by the time our spring migrants arrive.

Throughout Wisconsin landscapes, the hoo-hoo-hoo hoots of Great Horned Owls fill the night air and can be synonymous with the idea of Wisconsin’s natural beauty. Part of our Raptor Program’s mission is to share this beauty through educational programs with the help of our raptor ambassadors. Our new Great Horned Owl, Zari, will help inspire others and offer a glimpse into the powerful and beautiful world of Wisconsin wildlife.