The owl is a nocturnal bird and usually surrounded with a lot of mystery and myths. This is due to the fact that it is rarely seen during the day. What is more strange and mysterious is seeing an owl during the day and find it taking a swim! Like everyone else I wouldn’t believe it unless I saw it but to my surprise owls can actually do the breast stroke A Bird lover and photographer, Steve Spitzer captured on film a great horned owl swimming in the Michigan Lake. He had initially observed the bird dive into the water in a bid to evade peregrine falcons, afraid that the owl might drown Spritzer had attempted to go to its aid.
The owl apparently wasn’t perturbed or in need of a help, as it used its wings like arms and propelled its body forward in the water and graciously swam towards the bank of the river. With its head held high above the water the bird proved that the breast stroke wasn’t a swimming style reserved for jut humans. Loyola Park around the Chicago Rogers Park was where this rare video was captured.
The whole scenario of a swimming owl is filled with strangeness for one Falcon which is territorial in these parts is awake during the day and thus diurnal. The owl is usually awake at night i.e. Nocturnal, this begs the question that ‘what was an owl doing trying to evade Falcons in broad daylight? Since ordinarily their paths should never have crossed. The situation ended on a stranger note seeing that he owl had to swim in order to escape the territorial falcons that edged it out of the air or wherever owls hang out during the day. Spritzer who saw all the action was mostly worried seeing that the bird was in danger had quickly called the bird rescue team. They were not needed as the owl swam to safety aloof to all the fussing about.
Geoff Le Baron a predatory expert explained that it was possible that during that period in the year, young owls were being evicted out of the nests to care for themselves, this sudden introduction t o self sufficiency may have caused our owl to hunt during the day. This may have led him to being in the wrong place at the wrong time, where the falcons were patrolling their territory.
While it is not strange for large birds to be found swimming in water, it is usually when they want to fish or thy have caught a large fish and cannot take to flight to the weight. Even more strange is the fact that owls don’t eat fish thus it would be rare that they be found in water.
Environments in which you can find this species of large owl include: forests, cities, backyards deserts, grasslands and pretty much anywhere. This is quite understandable because the Great Horned owl is very abundant and native to Americas. It is possible that his ability for this owl to adapt to varying habitats is what assisted it in crossing the lake.
“Phew, what a swim!”
Wishes the video footage he took was longer as it seems the video had gone viral. He says that even with the length the video and its content are awesome.
Photo Credits: Flickr