Raptor Spotlight: Samantha
May 31, 2022
The Raptor Center
Samantha the subarctic great horned owl
Great horned owl Samantha is a longtime member of our education ambassador team.
| Photo by Gail Buhl

Samantha is a subarctic great horned owl brought to The Raptor Center (TRC) in 1992. She was found as an adult in Deer River, Minn., along the side of a road, with a fracture in her left wing from a suspected car strike. The fracture was treated; however, the wing injury had permanent impacts on her flight. Since she was not releasable to the wild, she was placed in TRC’s education department.

TRC staff performed evaluations and did training to ensure Samantha would be a good fit for life as an ambassador. TRC’s training regimen is rooted in positive reinforcement, which lets birds choose to participate with their trainer in different activities. Over the years, Samantha has proven to be one of the most versatile ambassadors, doing thousands of events and educating hundreds of thousands of people. She is one of TRC’s most senior and beloved education birds.

Samantha is at least 32 years old and has some age-related medical conditions that are being actively monitored and treated. She has arthritis in her left wing and cataract formation in both of her eyes. She receives joint supplements, and TRC is doing behavioral monitoring and treatment trials with pain medications to ensure she is as comfortable as she can possibly be. Arthritis is a common problem for older birds, particularly in relation to prior injuries. Consistent monitoring and meticulous daily care have kept her healthy and comfortable to keep doing her education work with the public. Come to TRC for a tour and meet Samantha!