Watch This Baby Owl Limber Up for Its First Ever Flight Like a Pro Athlete

Written by Sharon Parry
Published: November 29, 2023
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There’s nothing like preflight stretches to get you off to a good start! This adorable clip shows a baby owl going through its preflight routine like a pro athlete. First, there is a leg stretch followed by some neck stretches. Then, the wings are limbered up, followed by more neck moves, and finally, a good shake! No one can say that this guy didn’t prepare correctly for his first flight!

Watch the Adorable Clip Now

Where Are Great Gray Owls Normally Found?

The baby owl in this clip is a great gray owl; their scientific name is Strix nebulosa. Despite their large size, they are not that easy to find. They are a native species of some parts of Alaska, Canada, and the higher parts of the Rocky Mountain states, as well as northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. You may spot them in central California and central Ontario during the breeding season.

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Regarding habitat, they are usually found in dense coniferous forests in Canada or mountainous coniferous forests in the western United States. This species prefers pine and fir forests and is rarely seen in tundra or marshes. Your best bet is to look around dead trees at all levels because they sometimes perch pretty low.

How Do Great Gray Owls Normally Breed?

Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owls lay their eggs in March to June.

©Lynn_Bystrom/iStock via Getty Images

This species of owl breeds in the late winter and tends to take over abandoned hawk or crow’s nest. The female lays her eggs in March through June, producing between two to five oval eggs at a time. She then incubates them for around 28 days. When the owlets hatch, they are covered in soft white and have their eyes open. Both males and females are involved in feeding the young. They tear the prey into tiny pieces so the little owlets can swallow it. Their main prey is voles and other small rodents. As the babies grow, their down is replaced by feathers. Once the feathers are complete, they can start their preflight exercises, precisely what we see in this clip!

It’s pretty standard to see them walking around the top of the nest, flapping their wings and limbering up, as we see in this footage. They usually leave the nest after three or four weeks and can fly immediately.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Lynn_Bystrom/iStock via Getty Images


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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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