Owl Prowls are Fun and Educational
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
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
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.
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
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.