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The Buzz

Amazing Video Captures Rare Sight: A Great Horned Owl Going For a Swim


It's an incredibly majestic and incredibly rare piece of video, courtesy of some hikers in a canyon in Lake Powell between Arizona and Utah.

In the video, a great horned owl — likely a young one because it still has some if its nestling feathers — takes a leisurely swim, gracefully twisting and turning through the canyon's waterway.

While owls can swim, they rarely do.

"It's not very common because they have no means of defense once they're in the water," said Matthew Zwiernik, an ornithologist from Michigan State University. After a great horned owl was seen swimming in Lake Michigan in 2014, Zwiernik said he'd only seen such an occurence once before. 

There are a few things working against a swimming owl. Their talons aren't good for propulsuion, so they can't get out of the water until they reach shore. If a predator came upon them while swimming, they'd be dead in the water.

Additionally, owls are grounded until their feathers are completely dry.

So why did this particular owl take what many would consider a risky dip? Experts theorize that it fell into the water from its nest atop the cliff. 


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