August 8, 2017

Special visitor joins an MBARI expedition

Photo by Knute Brekke.

Guests sometimes join MBARI expeditions, but a special kind of visitor dropped in on a recent research cruise. A stunning barn owl flew aboard the R/V Western Flyer while the Benthic Biology and Ecology Group was conducting research near Sur Ridge (about 37 kilometers west of the Big Sur coast).

The ship’s crew and researchers, who are continuing studies on the deep-sea corals and sponges that grow at Sur Ridge, were pleasantly surprised when the owl landed on the ship while it was close to the coast. The owl sat on a perch on the side of the ship and repeatedly flew away and returned. It finally flew away for good as the ship approached the shore again in the evening.

Barn owl on R/V Western Flyer.

Photo by Andrew McKee.

For additional information or images relating to this article, please contact:
Kim Fulton-Bennett, MBARI: 831-775-1835,