Horned Owl Spotted Swimming in Lake Michigan

A great horned owl (Bubo virginianus) was spotted doing the breast stroke in Lake Michigan earlier this week. According to WGN6 in Chicago:

[Photographer and birder] Steve Spitzer was at Loyola Park Beach in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood when he saw something in the lake. He met another birder who said it was an owl. The Great Horned Owl was apparently forced down into Lake Michigan by two Peregrine Falcons.

Spitzer grabbed video and photos of the owl and tried to to scare off the falcons. A bird rescue unit was called to the scene, but apparently the owl had already flown away. While it’s unusual to see a raptor treading water, snowy owls displayed a similar survival tactic in the 2012 NATURE episode Magic of the Snowy Owl.