SURPRISE, AZ - A family of Great Horned Owls is creating a hoot on the Shadow Ridge High School campus in Surprise.
Last year, Shadow and Ridge made their nest on a pillar in front of the school near the front office. There they had two owlets, Rudy and Gruffle.
Seems they liked it so much that they came back this year to lay their eggs again.
“About 5 weeks ago we began seeing signs of them coming back,” said School Resource Officer Wendy Klarkowski.
Two days ago mom laid her first egg.
“On Tuesday night I noticed she came to the pillar and stayed there and she didn’t move for like 2 hours…and when she got us there was the first egg,” said Klarkowski.
Klarkowski thought this would be a great opportunity to teach the kids about the owls and set up cameras that live stream 24/7.
“So this is a way to allow them to learn about the owls to see the owls up close but without actually scaring them or harming them in anyway,” Klarkowski said.
She says it’s gotten so much buzz that the live stream has been seen in 17 countries and has made it’s way into schools across the valley.
“The school’s are using our live stream as a way of letting kids see it in real life instead of reading about it in a book,” added Klarkowski.
Great Horned Owls are protected by state and federal law and very territorial, but if you think noisy teenagers bother Shadow and Ridge, think again.
“She just looks at you like, whatever,” says Klarkowski. “Last year when one of the babies fell out we put them up. They just watched like, whatever.”
Klarkowski says the two will leave the nest during the day until the female has laid all the eggs. Males typically stay within 3 miles. The females within a mile. Today, we found her not too far away resting in a tree on campus.
Klarkowski says the owls have motivated the students to give to charity. Last year, she says students designed a shirt with the owls image on it. They raised $1,800 from the sale of the shirts, all the money was donated to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Mom still has a few more eggs to lay and it’ll be another month or so before they hatch.
There are two live streams you can watch of the owls HERE and HERE.