Blakiston's fish owl in Hokkaido, Japan
© Martin Bailey/Offset by Shutterstoc
Who's there? The largest owl in the world
To get us in the Halloween mood, we're offering a seldom-seen sight—the Blakiston's fish owl. Considered the largest of all living owls—about the size of a fire hydrant with a 6-foot wingspan—it's among the rarest of owls, too. Experts estimate only a few thousand of these elusive birds remain, scattered in pockets of dense old-growth forests in northern Japan, the Russian Far East, northeastern China, and potentially North Korea.
Although it'll eat rodents, rabbits, and other small mammals, the Blakiston's fish owl feeds mainly on aquatic life, particularly fish, and seeks out waterways that don't freeze during the bitterly cold winters of its range. Rather than swoop in silently on its prey like most owls, this fish owl often takes a more earth-bound approach, walking along the forest floor to find a good fishing spot, then perching on the bank, and waiting—just like any good angler would. When it sees a fish, it pounces, grabbing the prey with its talons and popping back out of the water to eat.
For more mysterious sightings, be sure to check out our Halloween homepage tomorrow.