It all started because of Alice. Alice is a Great Horned Owl who fell out of her nest in the city of Antigo, Wisconsin when she was just three weeks old. Her elbow was so severely damaged she would never be able to fly and live in the wild. So she found a job working at a small nature center in Houston, Minnesota teaching people about owls.
Alice quickly became the star of the show and soon a Festival of Owls was started as a “hatch-day” celebration for her each year the first weekend in March. Things kind of got out of hand and it turned into the only full-weekend, all-owl event in North America, with speakers and World Owl Hall of Fame award winners coming from around the world. Houston’s population of 979 people opened their arms to the flood of Festival goers, which had grown to about 1,800 people per year.
Because of the success of the Festival and the realization that there was no owl education center in North America, The International Owl Center was launched in a historic storefront in Houston, MN in March 2015. The Center features live owls, wings and tails you can touch, children's owl artwork from around the world, extremely lifelike mounts of nine owl species, and more. This storefront will serve as the Center's home until funds are raised to build a new facility complete with walk-through aviaries..
We firmly believe that individuals can make the world a better place for owls if they care enough and have some basic information. Did you know that 60-80% of wild owls have rodent poison in their bodies? Or that leaving dead trees standing is critically important for cavity nesting owls species? Or that owls can get caught up in barbed wire fences? Our goal is to spark an personal connection to owls in our visitors, and then give them the tools to make changes in their lives that will positively help owls, and we have pledge stickers that people can fill out to show their commitment to taking action to help owls.
Humans are the biggest problem for owls around the world, but we are also their biggest hope. Working together we all can make the world a better place for owls.
International Festival of Owls