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Hedwig

"Very smart owl you've got there."
     -- Tom the Innkeeper of the Leaky Cauldron

Owl cage Hedwig is a large female snowy owl, purchased for Harry by Hagrid as a birthday present on July 31, 1991. Hagrid purchased her in Diagon Alley, from the Eeylops Owl Emporium (PS5). Harry found the name in his book A History of Magic (PS6). She has amber eyes.

Hedwig carries messages for Harry: to Hagrid (PS8), from the Dursleys (CS12), and from Hermione even when she was on holiday in France (PA1). She is an extremely competent post owl:

Wherever Dumbledore was, though, Harry was sure that Hedwig would be able to find him; Harry's owl had never yet failed to deliver a letter to anyone, even without an address (GF2).
Hedwig is not a normal owl. She is extremely intelligent and communicates her feelings toward Harry with affectionate nips of her beak or reproachful looks. She can understand human speech:
"Hedwig," he said gloomily, "you're going to have to clear off for a week. Go with Errol. Ron'll look after you. I'll write him a note, explaining. And don't look at me like that" -- Hedwig's large amber eyes were reproachful -- "it's not my fault. It's the only way I'll be allowed to visit Hogsmeade with Ron and Hermione." (PA2)
She anticipates Harry's needs as well. She wanted to make sure that Harry received some birthday presents, so she flew to France to contact Hermione (PA1) and showed up at the Leaky Cauldron within minutes of Harry's arrival there on the Knight Bus, even though he's sent her away a week before to stay with Ron (PA3).

At Hogwarts, Hedwig lives in the Owlery. Even when she doesn't have a message for Harry, she drops by with the rest of the morning post owls to nibble his ear and have a bit of toast before going off to sleep for the day (PS8).

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