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Owl Prowls are Fun and Educational

Updated on September 12, 2014

Have You Ever Been on an Owl Prowl?

Owl Prowl's can be fun for the whole family. I had never been on an owl prowl before so when my sister suggested we go on one I didn't know quite what to expect. We got a list of what we should wear and bring with us so I had a good idea we could be hiking through the woods but still I wondered how we would find the owls in the dark.

The group met up with the naturalist who would take us on the search for the owls. We started at 7 pm and as the Mark, our naturalist, started to talk about the owls as "Charles and Sarah" I wondered what I had gotten myself into. As it turned out, we saw our first owl in just a few minutes and then found the other three in short order.

As Mark explained about the habits of the owls I was fascinated. He talked about how "Charles and Sarah" had produced 15 owlets over the past 6 years and Mark had named them all. The current owlets were named Christopher and Velvet and within the first hour I saw them too.

Now, I was really interested. I was expecting my 8 year old granddaughter to enjoy it, but wasn't so sure it was for me. I was pleasantly surprised at how fascinating the owls could be.

On this page I have striven to tell you about my experience on an Owl Prowl and given you a few facts about owls. Hopefully this information will make you want to learn more about owls.

photographs by Mary Beth Granger unless otherwise noted

naturalist and owl prowl group
naturalist and owl prowl group

Owl Prowl

Forest Park, St. Louis

My oldest granddaughter, Rachel, is fascinated by owls so when they were staying with me for a visit my sister arranged for them to go on an Owl Prowl. Brenda, a friend of my sisters, has been spending a lot of time learning about and studying in Forest Park. Brenda, along with naturalist Mark Glenshaw, agreed to take us on an owl prowl in Forest Park. Mark and Brenda have been studying a pair of mated Great Horned Owls and their two owlets.

We met at 7 pm one evening to go on our search of the owls. Mark had already located the owls earlier in the evening so within minutes he was able to bring us right to the place where the male owl, that was named Charles was perched high in a tree.

pictured are my granddaughters, Rachel and Ella, Alina(a German exchange student staying with my sister), my sister and her husband and the naturalist, Mark.

Our First Glimpse of an Owl - Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl

This is a photo I took of Charles, the male owl. He was near the top of a very large tree in a field across from the Boat House in Forest Park. Mark told us that he often finds Charles and his mate, Sarah in this tree or one of the others nearby. We did finally see Sarah in a nearby tree but she was masked in the leaves and I didn't capture a good photo.

Learn More about Great Horned Owls - bird guide

Do you want to learn more about these fascinating creatures? This book will give you additional information and show photos of these owls.

Facts about Great Horned Owls

The Great Horned Owls are a large species of owls that live throughout North and South America.

The facts listed on this page were gathered from information that I learned from the naturalist on my owl prowl and from online sources at About.com.

  • The Great Horned Owls have a long life span, living up to 13 years.
  • They are sometimes known as hoot owls, cat owls, or winged tigers.
  • They nest in the January-February time period.
  • Great Horned Owls have tufts on top of their heads but these have no role in hearing.
  • They are mostly nocturnal birds, flying and hunting at dusk and into the night.
  • They are the only animal that feeds regularly on skunks.
  • The Great Horned Owl in a very large bird that can grow up to 23 inches and weight as much as 3 1/4 pounds.

Naturalist Mark Glenshaw
Naturalist Mark Glenshaw

Interview with Naturalist

fun and informative

We were very fortunate to have our Owl Prowl with Mark Glenshaw, a naturalist who has been studying a mated pair of Great Horned Owls in Forest Park since 2005. Mark gives us some insight into his interest in owls in the following interview.

Mark, how long have you been interested in Owls?

I've always liked owls and in my youth I had a few times of seeing owls in photos, on video and at zoos that made an impression on me. That said, my strong interest in owls started late in the summer of 2005 when I had my first siting of Charles and Sarah. Since then these owls and owls in general have become a major part of my life.

What do you find fascinating about watching owls?

Without being flip there is nothing that I don't find fascinating about watching owls. Owls are continuously fascinating and compelling in their behavior and appearance. The three main components that draw me to the owls and the park are the greater connection with nature, the scientific curiosity and the aesthetic appeal. I love connecting with nature, there is still a great deal to learn about owls and they are stunningly beautiful. Every night is unique and a marvel.

What is the best time of year to go on an owl prowl?

As Great Horned Owls are permanent residents, you can see them all year. Each season has joys and challenges in watching them. Fall and winter are among the best times to see them as the adults are at their most vocal and the owls are easier to see with the trees losing their leaves. The challenge though is that it can be jolly cold. Spring and summer are great because if they have owlets you can see them along with the parents. The challenge then becomes finding them in the thickly leafed-out trees and dealing with the hot, humid weather.


The Owlets- Christopher and Velvet - 3 month old owlets

Owlets
Owlets

It was after 8 pm when we found the owlets Christopher and Velvet high up in the branches of the tree. It was getting dark, so my photo is not very clear but you can see that at only 3 months they are already large birds. Even though they are full grown they are still unsteady and learning. They will still be fed by their parents for several months. They are about 8-9 months old when their parents push them out to hunt and take care of themselves.

Have you ever seen an owl in the wild? - stop by and leave your comments

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    • profile image

      ohcaroline 

      5 years ago

      I used to see an owl in the mountains of Tennessee. I think he must have lived in an adjacent barn. None in Florida though...only those fake ones that people use to scare other birds off. ;(

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 

      5 years ago

      Yes, and they are very nice birds, look at "Captive Great Horned Owl" picture, they are so expressive, but somehow people don't acknowledge their beauty. I like them a lot!

    • tonybonura profile image

      Tony Bonura 

      5 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

      Of course, there was an owl who used to live in the woods near my house here in Tickfaw. You could hear it whoo starting in late afternoon. There were plenty of mice and rats in that little patch of woods for it to eat on.

      TonyB

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 

      6 years ago

      No, only heard them. But I'd loooove to go on an owl prowl! Fabulous lens!

    • equestrianscience profile image

      equestrianscience 

      6 years ago

      Yes, they are amazing animals

    • profile image

      JoshK47 

      6 years ago

      I have - and it was amazing. This sounds like a wonderful excursion idea! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 

      6 years ago

      Great owl info. Blessed!

    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      Sheilamarie 

      6 years ago from British Columbia

      Yes, we have a few owls in our neighborhood.

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 

      6 years ago from New York

      A couple of times but I'd love to go on an owl prowl sometime -- preferably close to halloween :-)

    • Kathryn Beach profile image

      Kathryn Wallace 

      6 years ago from Greenbank, WA, USA

      Once during the day I had one fly right over my head, sort of dive-bombing me! Other than that, I've heard many owls but never seen one in the wild.

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 

      6 years ago

      This Lens was a Hoot (sorry, I couldn't resist). I love owls, they are rich with ancient symbolism, and very useful to the environment.

    • profile image

      soaringsis 

      6 years ago

      No I haven't. I would like to.

    • microfarmproject profile image

      microfarmproject 

      6 years ago

      Yes, they used to fly around our swimming pool at dusk when I was a kid. We lived outside the city in a wooded area.

    • MissionBoundCre profile image

      MissionBoundCre 

      6 years ago

      I would need to wear diapers if I see an owl in the wild. Don't know why but I very scared of them.

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 

      6 years ago

      We bought a newbuild house and one day there was a big thud against the window, a startled owl on the ground and a ghost image of the bird embedded on the window in a sort of powder!

    • Leon Franks profile image

      Leon Franks 

      6 years ago

      We've enjoyed watching screech owls nest in an owl box in our back yard for several years.

    • Mystico profile image

      Mystico 

      6 years ago

      Where I work, there's a lot of rural - like land within the metro area. We have some owls here, and one of them used to love to sit atop the light poles and when I would drive by in the Company Vehicle, he / she would swoop down at me and whoosh up just before it got to me. Very freaky!!!

    • KReneeC profile image

      KReneeC 

      6 years ago

      I love owls and used to see them more often when I was younger, before more and more people moved into the area and their homes were destroyed....... Such a great lens!!

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 

      6 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      I haven't seen an owl in the wild, but I would sure love to :)

    • CarmellaMaeDunkin profile image

      CarmellaMaeDunkin 

      6 years ago

      I had the joy of arriving at a campground in Kansas last May, along a river and the biggest white owl was there hunting! It was just starting to get dark and I got a lot of nice photos!

    • profile image

      Natural_Skin_Care 

      6 years ago

      Yes I have. They're very majestic and powerful birds.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Yes, very many times at dusk.

    • Nimsrules LM profile image

      Nirmal Shah 

      6 years ago from India

      Superb lens. Learned a lot about the great horned owl.

    • SquidooMBA profile image

      SquidooMBA 

      6 years ago

      We have owls in our area and it is wonderful to hear them in the evening. They do a great job of helping keep the rodent population down as well! Great lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Congratulations on front page honors on this Purple Star lens! :)

    • magictricksdotcom profile image

      magictricksdotcom 

      6 years ago

      We live in a rural area surrounded by woods. We are lucky to have an owl who sits in a tree along our driveway and swoops past our car lights every once in a while so we can see him. Thanks for the informative lens. And you took some really interesting photos.

    • intermarks profile image

      intermarks 

      6 years ago

      This lens is great. I really learn a lot about owl. Thanks!

    • profile image

      marsha32 

      6 years ago

      Congrats on the purple star!

    • randomthings lm profile image

      randomthings lm 

      6 years ago

      Very cool. Love the name "owl prowl". Thanks!

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 

      6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Yes, I saw several owls on an "owl prowl" many years ago and it was a very educational and fun experience. Thanks for sharing your adventure and photos!

    • profile image

      Terrie_Schultz 

      6 years ago

      Cool, I'd love to go on an owl prowl!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      I hear one frequently in New Hampshire around our place. Sure wish it would catch more of those chipmunks, but they are out during the daytime while the owls are sleeping.

    • CameronPoe profile image

      CameronPoe 

      6 years ago

      Owl prowls sound like a fun thing to do, especially now that it's summertime.

    • profile image

      katieross 

      6 years ago

      Great quiz! Owls are fascinating, I love the lens.

    • KarenHC profile image

      Karen 

      6 years ago from U.S.

      I've rarely seen owls (occasionally we'll see one out in the woods), but we hear them occasionally. There's a screech owl that we sometimes hear in the woods near our house, and we've heard barred owls too (sounds like "who cooks for you, who cooks for you all!")

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I've never been on an owl prowl but it sure sounds like fun. We have at least one in our back yard that we enjoy listening to.

    • MarilynThompson profile image

      Marilyn Thompson 

      6 years ago from Washington State

      I have heard them at night and actualy saw an owl one afternoon

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 

      6 years ago

      I've just come in from an owl prowl. I love to hear their voices at night.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 

      6 years ago

      Yes, I've seen (and photographed) Great Horned Owls. They are magnificent birds.

    • AcornOakForest profile image

      Monica Lobenstein 

      6 years ago from Western Wisconsin

      Seen one? No, but there is a pair of them that live near where we camp every summer and I love to teach the kids about them when we hear them at night. I would LOVE to have a naturalist to show me where to look! Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      6 years ago from United States

      Oh, I am soooooo jealous! I want to go on an owl prowl!!! I guess I need to come to St. Louis again soon. Like next week :) I love owls and I know my son and husband would be equally thrilled to go on an owl prowl. In fact, perhaps my husband likes owls a little better than I do. How awesome for you all that you have already been and even got to see the owlets. Fascinating!

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