How Much Does an Owl Cost? (2024 Updated)

Owl standing on top of tree slump 2

If you love owls, you might wonder about the price of having one as a pet. Of course, it is no surprise, given their magical charm that has fascinated people for centuries. But how much does an owl really cost?

Further, what does it take to care for these mystical birds? Are they as low maintenance as they seem, or do they require some special kind of attention and environment to thrive?

This article will discuss everything you need to know about owl ownership, including initial purchase prices, care expenses, legality, and more. Plus, you will find helpful insider tips and fun facts here. Let’s get started!

How Much Does an Owl Cost?

Owl in flight

An owl’s purchase price generally falls between $200 and $4,500. In some cases, however, note that the fee can soar up to $10,000 or more. To be specific, the final cost varies significantly based on the type of owl you are planning to own, reflecting the wide range in their rarity and demand.

Screech Owls and Pygmy Owls are on the more affordable side, with prices ranging from $200 to $500. These smaller species are often considered a good starting point for those new to owl care.

In contrast, more sought-after breeds like Great Horned Owls and Eurasian Eagle-owls command higher prices. They typically cost between $1,000 and $4,500.

However, keep in mind that exotic owl types can fetch prices up to $10,000 or more.

Check out the table below for a quick look at the costs of various owl species:

Type of OwlPrice Range
Screech Owl$200 – $500
Pygmy Owl$200 – $500
Snowy Owl$400 – $1,000
Barn Owl$400 – $1,000
Barred Owl$500 – $1,500
Eastern Screech Owl$500 – $ 2,000
Great Horned Owl$1,000 – $3,000
Eurasian Eagle-owl$3,000 – $4,500
Rare VarietiesUp to $10,000 or more

Check out this video to see the stunning Eurasian Eagle-owl up close in captivity:

Baby Owl Goes Everywhere With Her Family | The Dodo

Note: An owl’s coloration can influence its price. Unique or unusual color variants may be priced higher due to their rarity and aesthetic charm, adding another layer to the cost considerations for potential owners.

Is It Legal to Own a Pet Owl?

Owning a pet owl in the United States is not straightforward. To legally keep one, you first need to become a licensed falconer, which means finding a mentor and undergoing extensive training.

The requirements for keeping an owl are as intense. You will need to construct a large outdoor enclosure for flight, acquire special equipment, and ensure you have access to a vet skilled in treating exotic pets.

So, although it’s technically possible to bring home an owl with the right permissions, it’s a commitment that extends far beyond what most pet owners are prepared for.

Fun Fact: Did you know that according to the North American Falconers Association (NAFA), it typically takes around seven years to become a Master falconer? Just completing your training takes at least two years.

First-Time Expenses of Owning an Owl

European Eagle Owl staring in front

Starting the journey of owl ownership involves substantial first-time costs to ensure these nocturnal birds live happily. This includes buying initial food supplies, toys, a cage, perches, and necessary supplements for their diet.

However, note that the largest investment will likely be in creating a dedicated outdoor aviary for your owl. Typically, this can range from $1,000 to $5,000.

Similarly, falconry equipment like gloves, bells, and anklets is essential for safely handling your owl. These items can also vary widely in price depending on quality, from $100 to $5,000.

For a better understanding, here is a breakdown of the initial costs to consider when starting out as an owl keeper:

Expense ItemPrice Range (USD)
Permits and Licensing$100 – $500
Cage and Enclosure$300 – $1,000
Outdoor Aviary$1,000 – $5,000
Perches$50 – $400
Toys and Enrichment$10 – $100
Food and Water Dishes$5 – $50
Food and Treats (Initial)$50 – $200
Falconry Equipment$100 – $5,000
Cleaning Supplies$10 – $80
Microchip or Leg Band$10 – $50
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $500
Travel Carrier$50 – $300
Books and Resources$10 – $50
Miscellaneous Items$50 – $500
Total Initial Cost$1,845 – $13,730

Fortunately, most of these expenses are one-time purchases. Once you’ve set up your owl’s living environment and acquired the necessary equipment, the recurring costs will mainly consist of food and occasional replacements.

Pro Tip: Instead of buying an expensive aviary, build your own owl house. You can find many plans online suited to the size and species of your owl. Use recycled materials where possible, but ensure the habitat is safe.

Ongoing Expenses of Owning an Owl

Taking home an owl comes with its share of ongoing expenses. You’ll need to budget for food, treats, and the cost of renewing permits and licenses. These costs can add up over time, which makes it vital to plan ahead.

Routine vet care is another crucial expense for falconers. Just like any animal, owls require check-ups and medical attention to stay healthy.

Additionally, certain pieces of equipment, such as gloves, bewits, and perches, will wear out and need replacing.

The upkeep of their living spaces, including aviaries or shelters, can’t be overlooked either. These structures may require repairs or upgrades to make sure they remain secure and suitable for your feathered friend.

For your reference, the table below gives you an estimate of the annual costs of owning an owl:

Expense ItemYearly Estimate (USD)
Food and Treats$200 – $500
Toys and Accessories $50 – $300
Vet Visits$100 – $1,000
Cage Maintenance$50 – $200
Outside Aviary Maintenance$100 – $700
Falconry Equipment$100 – $1,500
Cleaning Supplies$40 – $200
Permit and Licensing Renewal$100 – $500
Miscellaneous Expenses$10 – $300
Yearly Total$750 – $5,200
Average Monthly Cost$63 $433

Based on the table above, while owning an owl is a unique and rewarding experience, it is best to be prepared for the ongoing financial commitment.

Pro Tip: When stocking up on food and supplies for your owls, buy in bulk to save some cash. Falconers should also keep their eyes peeled for sales or discounts when replacing equipment, cages, carriers, and toys.

Other Potential Expenses

Owl peching inside its cage

Beyond the initial and ongoing costs outlined earlier, owning an owl can involve several other potential expenses that may arise unexpectedly. The following are just a few ones to consider:

  • Emergency vet care: Owls can encounter health issues that require immediate attention, which may lead to emergency vet visits. These visits can range from $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the severity of the condition and the treatment needed.
  • Specialized training or classes: Given their wild nature, owls often require specialized training to live harmoniously within human environments. This can cost between $100 and $500. It might cover how to handle your owl properly, teach it not to fly away, or how to interact with humans and other pets.
  • Legal and consultation fees: Navigating the legalities of owl ownership can incur costs ranging from $50 to $500. This includes consulting with experts to ensure compliance with local and federal regulations concerning the keeping of exotic pets.
  • Replacement of damaged items: Owls have strong beaks, legs, and talons, which they can use to tear apart toys, furniture, or even parts of the house. The cost of replacing these damaged items can run between $10 and $1,000.
  • Emergency preparedness supplies: Preparing for unexpected situations, such as natural disasters, is crucial. Owl owners should anticipate spending $100 to $1,000 on supplies like emergency food rations, a secure carrier, and first-aid items designed for avian use.

It is important to note that these are rough estimates, and actual costs can vary widely based on individual circumstances, specific needs, and unforeseen events.

Where to Find Pet Owls for Sale

Due to legal restrictions, finding owls for sale in the United States takes a lot of work. These birds are protected under federal and state laws, making their sale and ownership without proper authorization illegal.

To legally own an owl, one must become a licensed falconer. This process involves passing rigorous exams and serving an apprenticeship under an experienced falconer.

For those passionate about owls but unable to commit to falconry, volunteering at a rehabilitation facility is a rewarding alternative.

At rehab centers, you can get the chance to help injured owls and other birds. This experience allows for close interaction with these nocturnal creatures without the need to actually own one.

I once spent a summer volunteering at a local bird rehabilitation center, where I had the opportunity to work closely with owls. The facility took in birds hurt in the wild, providing medical care and a safe space to recover.

During my time there, I learned about the specific needs of different owl species, from their dietary needs to the complexities of their care.

It was clear that managing these birds requires specialized knowledge and dedication.

Frequently Asked Questions

Barn owl getting ready to capture its prey

How Much Is an Owl Permit?

Securing a permit for owl ownership can set you back between $100 and $500. Basically, this cost doesn’t just open the door for you to own an owl; it also ensures you are legally covered to do so.

Besides the initial cost, be prepared for a monthly renewal fee. Plus, getting this permit isn’t just about paying. You will need to ace written exams to prove you are up to the task of caring for these majestic birds.

Are Owls Hard to Own?

Yes, owls are hard to own. Beyond the need for permits and licenses, these birds demand specialized care that goes well beyond that of typical pets.

Of course, such unique needs translate into both initial and ongoing expenses that can be pretty expensive.

Moreover, despite their generally non-aggressive nature towards humans, owls remain wild animals and pose certain risks. Without proper handling and understanding, they can become dangerous to possess.

What Is the Best Owl Species to Own?

Among the most popular owl species for ownership are the Great Horned Owl, Eurasian Eagle-owl, Barn Owl, and Screech Owl. These birds are often favored for their distinctive appearances and behaviors.

For those looking for smaller, more manageable options, exotic species like the White-faced Owl and the Little Owl are also great choices.

As you can see, owning owls comes with hefty responsibilities and costs. What are your thoughts on this? Do you have any questions, money-saving tips, or opinions? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

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