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The owls in the universe of Harry Potter can track down anyone who is not disguised by any spell. But even on the official site, things aren't really explained. Would there be an explainable way that owls or any bird could (by explainable means) know a person's address and go there by command, without enhancing their intelligence, or making a new type of bird?

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    $\begingroup$ Considering even humans in the HP universe can't find people like that, the only answer is "magic." $\endgroup$ – Cyn says make Monica whole May 5 at 19:56
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I don't believe its the owls that are doing the locating. Whether they are delivering a letter from home, a copy of the Daily Tattler, or an invitation to Hogwarts, the owls are carrying something.

I believe the objects are homing in on their intended recipient, and the owls are trained to follow a subtle pull or tug exerted by the object.

And, furthermore, this magic is never mentioned in HP World since it is as ubiquitous as turning on a water faucet is for us. It could be part of the sealing wax that seems to be used in every letter delivered in the movies. Or its in the quills, ink, or paper.

The owls seem to do it for knuts or out of love in the case of the family owl or personal familiars

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    $\begingroup$ To add to this, both the book that contain’s the names of students invited to Hogwarts and the quill that writes the names in are enchanted. The quill knows when a wizard is born and goes to write it in the book, if the book agrees the student is eligible, it allows the quill to write the name in it. However, if the book disagrees (such as if the ‘wizard’ is actually a squib) it will slam itself shut before the quill can write the name. So, there is definitely some precedence for either the paper or quill to be enchanted to locate a wizard. $\endgroup$ – Liam Morris - Reinstate Monica May 5 at 20:57
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Carrier Pigeons

Birds have been trained in the past to carry messages, the most famous example being pigeons. Birds would travel between their home and where they were fed, people on either end would attach messages to the legs of these homing pigeons.

However, as owls are birds of prey, i don’t think this would work as well. An owl might, rather than fly the long distance to get food, simply go out and hunt for it instead, causing the message to be lost. Further more, many owls have rather substantial talons and beaks capable of tearing flesh. Using pigeons is far safer and more convenient (as with owls you would need a thick leather glove or dedicated perch for them to land on in order to obtain the message, making things a little more cumbersome).

Also, consider this question about ravens. Whilst not quite the same as your question, it is very closely related. It is possible you could train owls to relay messages but they would be less effective than other birds.

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Would there be an explainable way that owls or any bird could (by explainable means) know a person's address and go there by command?

Yes.

The fowls, being magical, are able to read. Also, being specially related to Ravenclaw, they are more intelligent than the average Gryffindor (which is not very hard) or muggle. They know how to read a f... Magickin' phonebook.

It has addresses and stuff

(TBH Gryffindors are in average less intelligent than non magical birds as well, with only a handful famous exceptions).

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  • $\begingroup$ Though what about when the wizard is not at home, or is at someone else’s home? Does the owl have to knock on the neighbour’s house and leave the package with them before writing out a note with its beak saying “you package is at X”? $\endgroup$ – Liam Morris - Reinstate Monica May 5 at 21:17
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    $\begingroup$ @LiamMorris I think they do what mailmen do: drop the package through the chamnee and call it a day. $\endgroup$ – Renan May 5 at 21:31
  • $\begingroup$ Except the HP owls always deliver directly. Often during meals. They know where the person is, not just where they sleep. $\endgroup$ – Cyn says make Monica whole May 6 at 4:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Cyn I am proposing an answer of my own to the OP's world building question of how to justify an owl post. The canonical answer for a question about the HP world is that owls do indeed use magic to find people. $\endgroup$ – Renan May 6 at 10:01
  • $\begingroup$ Fair enough. Re-reading the question it doesn't say answers must conform to the known HP world. $\endgroup$ – Cyn says make Monica whole May 6 at 14:01

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