Great horned owl by a tree stares into the camera

Great Horned Owl Steals Hobby Horse, Becomes Voice of a Generation

If you’re looking for a Halloween mascot, life coach, role model, or all-around hero, look no further—this juvenile great horned owl in Illinois is the inspiration we all need in our lives.

Recommended Videos

Last week, Facebook user Eric Lind posted a video of the owl flying around his neighborhood with some poor soul’s hobby horse (you know, those sticks with a horse’s head on one end). Eric explains that the owl doesn’t seem to be tangled in the hobby horse’s straps, or in any kind of distress. It seems to have just seen the toy and said, “Mine.”

Lind goes on to explain that the owl was born about six months ago in a local nest. There’s no word yet on whose hobby horse the owl stole.

Why would an owl steal a child’s toy?

What exactly is the owl doing with that horse? I spoke to Nurit Katz, Outreach Coordinator for the Friends of Griffith Park L.A Raptor Study in Los Angeles, CA, and she explained that while it’s hard to say for sure what this particular bird’s motivation is, she’s seen this behavior among young raptors before. “Juvenile raptors will often play with objects to practice hunting,” Katz said. “For example, we’ve seen cooper’s hawks practice by dropping pine cones and catching them. We once saw a hawk plucking a towel as if it were removing feathers from a bird.”

Although it’s not clear whether this owl was playing or genuinely thought it had caught something, Katz pointed out that the head of the hobby horse does resemble something an owl might eat. “The fuzzy head,” she said, “is similar in size and texture to a rabbit or another animal that would be prey for a great horned owl.”

While we may never know this owl’s exact motivations, the video has an important life lesson for us all. If you see something you want? Take it. Take that sucker. Steal from children! Sit in a tree and lord it over them! You work hard, so you’ve earned it!

(featured image: Nicky Pe on Pexels)

The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href=""></a>