It’s not every day that you’ll see an animal in the wild exhibit strange behaviour, especially not an owl swimming through a canyon between Utah and Arizona. But one day in 2016, Derrick Zuk and his friends spotted this ‘swimming owl’ as they were hiking through a canyon in Lake Powell. Shocked by what they were seeing, Zuk decided to film the owl. The video shows the owl ‘swimming’ in a way that’s similar to a breast stroke. The owl bobs in and out of the water until it finds a mound of earth to rest on.
According to the National Geographic, the owl in the video is likely a juvenile great horned owl who still has some nestling feathers. Since great horned owls often roost on the edge of cliffs, it’s possible that the young owl fell out of the nest and into the water. Geoff LaBaron of the National Audobon Society also suggests that the owl could have fallen during an early test flight. But with wet feathers, owls are unable to fly and have no way of defending themselves in the water. Before jetting off into the air, owls needs to get out of the water and dry out their feathers.