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Dateline: 4/1/2012 - Mt Rainier National Park

Many photographers in the Pacific Northwest have become interested in owls this year due to numerous Short Eared Owl sightings. If you're one of them, here's a new one for you. I've never even heard of this elusive creature, let alone photographed him! Anyone ever seen one in the wild? Here's a photo taken by researchers on 4/1/12

An Introduction to the Rainbow Owl

The Rainbow Owl is a rare species of owl found in hardwood forests in the western United States and parts of China. Long coveted for its colorful plumage, the Rainbow Owl was nearly hunted to extinction in the early 20th century. However, due to conservation efforts, recent years have seen a significant population increase, particularly in northwestern Montana.
The adult Rainbow Owl is on average 44 cm long with a 112 cm wingspan.

Unlike most owls, which are nocturnal, the Rainbow Owl is crepuscular, a term used to describe animals active during the twilight hours at dawn and dusk, or on bright moonlit nights. They prey mostly on rabbits, mice and squirrels but are also known to eat snakes, foxes, porcupines or other owls.

The Rainbow Owl can be distinguished from other owls by its peculiar multicolored feathers but also by its unusually melodic call. Recent research concerning Rainbow Owls also suggests that they are responsive to music and attracted to human singing. A leading Rainbow Owl research team from the University of Montana in Missoula has earned the nickname "The Disco Squad" for their creative use of disco music in the field. "People think it's crazy, but we are about twice as likely to encounter owls in the field if we bring along a portable stereo," says Herman Roark, a doctoral student working with the Disco Squad, "And they are most responsive to disco. So far, we have had the most success with 'The Hustle.'

~ Dr. Claudia Weatherfield, University of Washington
Gopal Bhaskaran's profile photoziki khan's profile photoBob Harbison's profile photoVictoria Demmons's profile photo
is a peculiar feature of this species that its usually sighted around the beginning of April ?
The only known photo was made on 4/1
WOW . . . .Love owls but this one is so special +Bob Harbison !
So wonderful that you got such a great capture . . . love that it loves music :)
+Adrian Thysse we have some beetles like those in the Pacific Northwest (for real) that look like they have a metal flake paint scheme. They're amazing!
I agree it is beautiful, but is it real?!
lol you guys it april fools sorry the whole thing was photoshopped
OMM THAT IS SO PRETTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)
Photo taken on 4/1/12. April Fools??
hr syed
colourful stares, yet cool
never seen anything like it
Where was this amazing picture taken, "Its so beautiful".
I have never seen a owl like this.
yee yee april fool owl
what is the name of this Owl
Ken Dai
Where can we find it
all i can say is its AMAZING
wow!!! really so beautiful... love it..
They just refuted the existence of this owl on Sunday Morning. Pity! Such a beautiful bird!
Kyle F
Woooow! A rainbow owl! And on April Fools day too!
Yep, this is a joke.
It's an internet hoax, Happy April Fool's Day to you too!
Is there a leprechaun that comes with the owl?
sarah x
Awh! He's so damn cute!!! :P
thats awesome i want one as a pet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Emily L
wow i love the colors!!
are ya lying cause its april fools day but cool
oh dis reminds me of the movie "the big year" have ya seen it,good
WOW. To see one in person would be a delight. Thanks for sharing!
totally fake, no such thing. u can c the edits
if that owl is real then it is beautiful
its not fake one of these flew in my garden!
also known as the Photoshoppus Ordinarius, or the April Foolsday Owl.
It's not fake, I saw one when I meant on vacation!
Hilarious. Well played.
Well done! Got me fooled but then again what day is today!
creative use of disco...must be an april fools joke!
Excellent shot! I watched a pair of them mating this morning. They are certainly a colorful species...:)
This owl is beautiful. I never knew about it. We learn something new each day.
I saw one. It was sitting on the back of a unicorn in Narnia on the 12th of never.
Good...An April Fools Owl in technicolor..... A rare specie that appears only for April fools.... ghghghgh doesn't exist, that is just Photoshopped...
No wonder it's rare. It can never blend in its surroundings for survival. How is it ever going to hide from predators or hunt prey? :)

Happy April Fools' day!
omg i luv owls!! that owl looks just like an owl necklace my cousin has (:
wat a beautiful owl..nature is really a gift
ok i was caught! Aprils fool. Wow I clearly forget it was 1 April.
sorry to spoil it, but this is a very nicely done april fools day prank. great how theres a lot of info on it- it makes it seem real.
extraordinary, had never even heard of, much less seen this owl. Many thanks for the gorgeous introduction.
Come on, this is not funny! This is a Barred Owl which has been "photoshop"ed with rainbow colors. In doing this kind of thing, you're creating misinformation about wildlife that less-knowledgeable people might take for fact. Ultimately that's doing a disservice to wildlife: people should care about wild animals that actually exist, not fictional ones. Not okay.
Yeah i fell for it 'till i saw the date on mi Taskbar.
really a rare species........beautiful
just keep on sharing, other photos might come up! i'll try to post some of mine. i have one because i found one with a broken wing. we go hunting together with the owl; while riding a unicorn.
This photo has been going around for the past 2 weeks already. I was shocked to even see one like this, but it really is real. The photo wasn't just taken though.
Wow this animal is Beautiful, just b-e-a-utiful!!
Fake the news sed it's fake!!!!
Ha ha ha! Wish I had thought of this one. I bet a 'Rainbow Owl' tastes like Lifesavers, not like chicken!
It has beautiful coloring like a parrot. Beautiful bird. Thanks for sharing!
WOW!! That Is Soo Strange And Yet Beautiful.
Beautiful owl:) thanks for sharing!
Very cool or a great April fools joke.
This looks shopped. I can tell from the pixels and by having seen quite a few shops in my time.
Absolutely magnificent creature thanks for the photo
lol i wish there were owls in this world like that it'd be so cool!
that would be so awesome i agree
that has got to be the coolest owl iv ever seen.
Beautiful, this picture would make a great jigsaw puzzle.
i can't believe a bird with such beautiful plumage
As I read the comments from so many seemingly intelligent people, I find myself becoming more concerned that many of these same people also vote in our elections.
Amazing......I love birds and this one is wonderful.......where is it found, I'd love to go and see it in the wild!
wow, you should call it the 'April Fool Owl'
really colorful and pretty
This owl is Google's pet. Same exact colors.
Wow and I thought I was already in love with owls...You just helped highten it even more now! Thanks.
Is that bird even real? I mean you'd think that something so brightly colored would've been eliminated in nature naturally but also coupled with hunting it [the Rainbow Owl] looks so unreal that something like that can exist of fiction and a meticulously controlled science lab.
That's the most amazing owl I've ever seen! 
Come on people!! Its called a Photoshop Owl!!
No such thing as a Rainbow Owl. This is a prank!
I love this 4/1 Rainbow Owl i want one is so very pretty!!!!!
very pretty and beautiful i would love to hug it
I wish they were real so I could have one :(
Wow!!!! I'm glad I lived long enough to see one of these..I had only heard about them..Thank You..!
Wow what a wonderful creature even most southern africans dont really like them but this is special it can be loved by anyone 
yah definitely april fools
> you'd think that something
>so brightly colored would've
>been eliminated in nature

Google "Scarlet Macaw". They make this fellow look downright subtle by comparison.
yep have you pulled a prank yet?
That is sooo fake. No real owl has neon feather colorings. How would they survive in the wild? Most of them depend on stealth and camo, you know...
This April Fool is not fooled.
thiers something very wrong about that i wish i knew what it was
OMG, I never seen an Rainbow Owl before, that is so cool
i think its real but they photo shopped the color in
Nope. It was declared a hoax this morning on the news. Too bad, too, I sorta liked the owl
But, my 4 year old daughter saw one in our backyard this morning!
Emily L
Why are some people so mean to some of the most beautiful things on this planet? It's not right to hunt the endangered, and pollute this resourceful planet!!
Emily L
But even if we didnt hunt down the majority, their unique colors could give them away to preditors
Wow, nearly 300 shares, over 350 comments and 650 likes! Guess this one "went viral".
Yes, as the vast majority of you figured out, this was an April Fools Day joke. Thanks to those of you who complimented me on it, I appreciate that. To the few folks who were upset or offended, my apologies. However, I suggest that maybe you are taking things a bit too seriously, life should be fun! This joke didn't insult or belittle anyone or anything. It simply presented something fun, that was close enough to being real that many folks, including me, wanted to believe it was real. To me, that's the essence of a wonderful April Fools Day Joke!
Oh, and for those of you who commented on how a bird like this couldn't exist in the wild, due to the vivid colors, (and there were a lot of you), once again, I'll suggest you research parrots, starting with the Scarlet Macaw and the Blue and Gold Macaw. They both have plumage that is even more colorful, and they're both real. They are threatened in the wild, but that is due to habitat loss, not their magnificent plumage.
a better explanation would be : its is theoretically impossible for an owl to have colorful plumage because they are nocturnal creatures ... so color does them no evolutionary benefit
aww sad;( i wanted it to be real
Thank you for that great share Bob! Seeing the thumbnail, my first impression was that it is a painting!
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