I met Sam while participating in the Hocking Hills Annual Winter Hike. A naturalist with the state of Ohio was holding him on his arm as the crowd walked past. I took several photos of Sam while he was turning his head every which way as he looked over the crowd. I decided to combine these images into one animated image that shows off his amazing head-turning skills. Check out the image below.
In case you are curious, the four images below were combined with the owl head at the top of this post to make the animated image.
You can see Sam looking up a lot. He was looking up both at the faces of hikers and the face of his handler.
As Bob and I were filing past Sam, I did catch a bit of his back story. Apparently he was delivered into the care of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as an injured bird on Independence Day. In honor of Independence Day, he was named after the country’s emblematic Uncle Sam. And since Sam’s gender was unknown, the name “Sam” also seemed like a good choice since it is used as a nickname for both “Samuel” and “Samantha”.
Apparently I’m not the only one impressed with how owls can turn their heads around. I noticed this cute effigy pipe at the Ohio Historical Society Museum in Columbus, Ohio. It is a Hopewell Indian artifact depicting a barred owl looking behind itself.