owl witchLook! Up in the sky! It’s a witch? It’s a ghost? It’s Superman? No, it’s a bird! Residents in Eureka were convinced they saw the wicked witch flying around on her broomstick in their neighborhood. It made sense, Halloween was a couple weeks away, why wouldn’t the witches come out to play? As it turned out, the so-called witch was actually an owl flying around with a child’s toy it had stolen earlier that day. The image circulating was caught by Eric Lind outside of his parents’ house. Too see the video Lind captured of the owl, visit here.

The toy was a stick horse, and the bird was a great horned owl. Great horned owls are known for their long, earlike tufts, intimidating yellow-eyes stare, and deep hooting voice. They are the inspiration for the quintessential owls found in storybooks, so it is only fitting one was mistaken for a storybook witch. The owl thief snuck into someone’s home and stole the toy of their child. Why the owl seemed to make friends with the horse is unclear. Some have suggested its similarity in size to mice drew the owl in, others reference how juvenile red-tailed hawks have been reported to play with inanimate objects, so the owl could be doing the same. Either way it was drawn to the toy and the owl’s silhouette made a convincing witch. Luckily for those in Eureka, this was merely a cute owl playing with its new friend.

Then again, one of the powers of a witch can include turning into an animal, and an owl is a known companion to some storybook villains. So who knows? Maybe witches really do roam among us and this one turned back into an owl just in the knack of time. Either way, they arrived in Eureka just in time for spooky season.