A chaw is a squadron within the Guardians of Great Ga'Hoole Tree that specializes in teaching each owl a particular skill. There are nine chaws at the Great Ga'Hoole Tree in the books, with an additional three in the movie. There is also a special chaw, the Chaw of Chaws, consisting of some of the best members of each chaw.
- Research-and-Printing (Books only)
- Weather Interpretation
- Blacksmithing (not included in the chart)
- Search-and-Rescue (also referred to as "battle/combat")
- Danyar Chaw (Books only)
- Hunting-and-Gathering Chaw(Movie only)
- Healing Chaw (Movie only)
- Harp Guild (Movie only, and for snakes at that)
An owlet who has just arrived at the great tree is known as a chawlet. After a time of probation in which the skills and abilities of each chawlet are tested by the various rybs through fundamentals training, there comes a process known as tapping.
To be "tapped" into a particular chaw means that the ryb of that chaw has selected an owl to join its advanced chaw practices. When an owl is tapped into a chaw, they find an object within their hollow left behind by the ryb whose chaw they were selected to. The objects are:
- Colliering: A piece of coal.
- Weather interpretation: A dried caterpillar.
- Blacksmith: A forged iron tree.
- Search-and-rescue: A molted feather.
- Navigation: Ten nooties placed in the shape of the Golden Talons constellation.
- Ga'Hoolology: A milkberry.
- Tracking: A pellet.
- Research-and-Printing: Unknown.
- Danyar: Unknown.
Chaw tapping is not shown in the movie, therefore the objects for the three additional chaws in the film are unknown.
Chaw-chopping is a possible consequence for a Guardian-in-training who commits a particularly serious offense. An owl who has been chaw-chopped is excluded from all chaw-related activities for some length of time. This form of punishment is more severe than an ordinary flint mop and is considered to be very humiliating.
- In the blu-ray version of the movie there is some extras where Soren guides you through the world of owls and Ga'Hoole. When he shows the Great Tree, he shows the chaws, and one is entitled 'Harp Guild', for snakes. But in the movie itself, the harp was never shown or mentioned, let alone the other nestmaid snakes, Madame Plonk and an actual chaw for it.