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Hoot is that? Amateur naturalist Mark Glenshaw gives a Forest Park owl update

Charles stretches.
Mark Glenshaw
Charles, a Great Horned Owl in Forest Park, stretches.

On December 29, Mark Glenshaw celebrated his 10th anniversary of monitoring a pair of Great Horned Owls in Forest Park. The amateur naturalist made his first appearance on “St. Louis on the Air” two years ago to introduce listeners to the pair he had dubbed Charles and Sarah. In April of this year he returned to report on the birth of the couple’s offspring, a pair of owlets whom he later named Harold and Grace. At that time he described the parents as the “Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt” of Great Horned Owls.

Credit Mary Edwards
Mark Glenshaw

But sadly, Glenshaw wrote on his blog in September that Sarah had died in late July. He still doesn’t know the cause. It could have been illness, injury or just old age. Glenshaw was overwhelmed with the feedback on the owl’s death including comments on his blog, emails, and Facebook comments. He even had one message from a couple who was seriously concerned about him noting they hadn’t seen any new entries on his blog.

The happy news that Glenshaw shared with Don Marsh on Wednesday is that Charles has a new mate. The male owl had spent the Fall courting two other females who each eventually disappeared. Glenshaw first saw the pair mate on December 7 but waited a few weeks to make a public announcement. After much deliberation he has named the new female Olivia.

Commenting on his fascination with Great Horned Owls, Glenshaw observed, “They are just a beautiful, fascinating animal. As you start to teach people about them and people begin to understand how common yet simultaneously how extraordinary these animals are, it just opens up this whole new world to them.”

Glenshaw gives owl talks all over Missouri and Illinois. He also is happy to take interested people on an “Owl Prowl” when they can witness first-hand the creatures Glenshaw has devoted his life to observing and studying. He can be reached through his blog where one can also find a detailed account of Charles and his new mate.

"St. Louis on the Air" discusses issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh. Follow us on Twitter and join the conversation at @STLonAir.

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Mary Edwards came to St. Louis Public Radio in 1974, just after finishing her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She has served the station in a number of capacities over the years. From 1988-2014 she also taught an undergraduate class in radio production at Webster University. Mary was inducted into the St. Louis Media History Foundation Media Hall of Fame in April, 2017 and received the Gateway Media Literacy Partners' Charles Klotzer Media Literacy Award in 2012. Mary retired from St. Louis Public Radio in 2018, but still serves the station as a St. Louis Symphony Producer.
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