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The Amazing Fish-Owl: Discovered by Thomas Blakiston

Updated on March 2, 2013
GarnetBird profile image

Gloria taught for many years, and also worked as a mental health group facilitator.

Web photos courtesy of Blakiston Owl Project and National Geographic

Note ear tufts.
Note ear tufts.
Thomas Blakiston, a British Soldier, Nobleman, naturalist and explorer.
Thomas Blakiston, a British Soldier, Nobleman, naturalist and explorer.
Some of the Fish Owls are auburn in hue, like this one.
Some of the Fish Owls are auburn in hue, like this one.

By Gloria Siess {"Garnetbird"}

The British Explorer and Businessman, Thomas Blakiston discovered a rare type of Owl while on his journeys. This Fish Owl, bubo blakistoni, was sighted in Japan, China and Russia, fishing in the manner associated with Eagles. It was first christened "Fish Owl," in 1883, in Hokkaido, Japan. Prior to the 1800's nothing was commonly known about this intriguing bird, which belongs to the class known as Typical Owls.{ It has also been seen eating carrion from traps in modern-day Russia}.

This owl can weigh up to 6.8 pounds, an impressive size indeed. The average Owl is not as large or as intimidating as the Blakiston Fish Owl. It is also found in an auburn-brown series, as shown in the photos. It resembles the Eurasian eagle owl, but is paler, with more dramatic ear tufts. This bird is extremely endangered due to the loss of riverine forests. There are projects online designed to draw interest to preserving this lovely bird, with many scientitists and students participating.

The Owl's namesake, Thomas Blakiston, came from an old, noble family line in the United Kingdom. Many persons like myself may find themselves distantly related to this general family line, as the sirname was frequently changed to Blackstone. The Blackstone {Blakiston)Family originally settled in Maine and Maryland in the 1640's.{One of my ancestors was Nancy Blackstone; as I researched the family line I became obsessed not only with family history, but this fascinating Fish Owl}.

The founder of the Blakiston Fish Owl was buried in Columbus, Ohio, in 1891.( Little did I know when I attended Ohio State at Columbus, a distant relative was resting nearby! }On April 20th, 2010 I received an invitation from Greenlawn Cemetary in Columbus, Ohio, to attend a Birding Breakfast in honor of Thomas Blakiston and his amazing Fish Owl.


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    • GarnetBird profile imageAUTHOR

      Gloria Siess 

      8 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Thank you for reading--I have found out since that almost all of these owls reside in Russia, now.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      I love learning about animals. Thanks!

    • valeriebelew profile image


      8 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      Interesting. I did not know about fish owls, nor that they are endangered. Good write.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great Hub and a history lesson as well...thank you very interesting...



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