A Broad Daylight Owl – Strange

After dropping my daughter in Lafayette Saturday morning I headed to my first birding location in Benton County.

But before I reached my first stop I saw one of the oddest things I have ever seen while birding.

A large bird flew across the road coming from a farm field heading to a wooded area. Now mind the time is 10AM. My first thought was a RED-TAILED HAWK but it was too “fat” for a hawk. My next thought was a BALD EAGLE. But it was too small for an eagle. The bird proceeded to land on a fence post and gazed back at me.

A GREAT HORNED OWL out in the open in broad daylight. A first.

I got the car stopped in the middle of the road and took a photo through the car window. By the time I re-positioned the car it had flown away.

Great Horned Owl

The photo was the best I could get through the car window before it moved on. A Great Horned Owl gazing back at 10AM in the morning. Rural Benton County 4/9/16

So what was a Great Horned Owl doing flying across a corn field in broad daylight? I didn’t see any crows or jays around mobbing it. My daughter asked if it looked like it might be ill, but it appeared to be flying fine. I’m not sure what it was doing flying across the field??

In all my years of birding I can’t recall seeing a Great Horned Owl flying in the open in daylight unless it was being harassed by crows or jays. And then they stuck to the tree line. Never across a field. I have seen a few Great Horned Owls flying at dawn or dusk but even then they were close to trees.

Have you ever seen owls flying out in the open during daylight hours? If so, I’d like to hear about it.

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