The Owl Man

October 22, 2014

Mark Glenshaw, also known as “The Owl Man,” joined us for dinner last Saturday evening, along with several other friends. Our lively discussions brought to mind the first time I met Mark, after which I penned a short narrative about the interesting encounter. I’m sharing that description here for the first time, along with some great-horned owl images I captured with Mark’s assistance.

When I first set eyes on Mark Glenshaw, he was already watching me. I was trudging up a steep hill toward my truck in St. Louis’ Forest Park after locating a great-horned owl nest which featured three, fluffy fledglings, all curious and alert. When I reached the parking lot near the World’s Fair Pavilion, Mark approached me, in the manner of a park ranger, and introduced himself as an amateur naturalist who monitored the great-horned owls of Forest Park. He further informed me, with utmost courtesy, that I had already been “a bit too close” to the owls.


I introduced myself and explained my intention to photograph the owls. Mark showed me two vantage points where I could get an image without disturbing the young owls. The positions, which he had selected to provide a clear line of sight at eye-level from the hilltop to the nest were ideal. I shook hands with Mark and advised him that I would head home to grab my camera gear and be back in two hours for the “golden hour” before sunset. To my surprise, Mark said, “I’ll be here when you get back.”

As I gathered my gear later that afternoon, Joyce asked me what I was up to. I jokingly explained that I was going back to Forest Park to photograph a trio of young owls, pending approval from their “watchman,” Mark Glenshaw. Later, as I pulled up to the same parking lot where I had met Mark, he approached me again. Although it has been four years now, I remember Mark’s exact words:  “I checked your Bona fides while you were gone.” He further explained that he felt a responsibility to ensure that the owls were not disturbed, and that he was looking forward to assisting in any way he could.

I captured several nice images of the fledgling owls that evening and the next morning as well. Mark even showed me individual trees where I could find each parent roosting when they were not actively feeding their young. I wasn’t surprised to find the adult owls right where he said they would be. By the time I was finished a few days later, I had not only made some great images but also a great friend in Mark Glenshaw.


Over the years, Mark has continued to monitor the owls of Forest Park and educate visitors about their life history. I’m impressed at the way he engages people, young and old, with owl anecdotes, including predatory attempts and nesting successes. Mark now travels all over Missouri, giving presentations about great-horned owls, and he keeps all of us “owl followers” updated with a lively blog. But don’t think this has all gone to his head. Mark can still be found most every day of the year, observing and recording the activities of the great-horned owls of Forest Park.

If you would like to learn more about Mark and the owls of Forest Park, check out his fascinating blog, “Forest Park Owls” by clicking here.

Thanks for looking,

Danny Brown

Email me at:  NatureFrames@Rocketmail.Com


12 comments on “The Owl Man”

  1. You have captured perfectly Mark’s passion and character. I am proud to have Mark refer to me as one of his owl “mentees”and have also had the great fortune to become a friend.

    All this springs from a encounter nearly seven years ago. On my way out of the park after a long day of putting people on bikes I walked up to a stranger with a backpack and binos whom I had been seeing regularly in the park for some time. I had no way of knowing where my seemingly simple question “What you looking at?” would lead but I am ever so glad that I asked.

    My partner Barb Brownell has been sharing your great blog with me for some time and I have greatly enjoyed reading your comments almost as much as admiring your great images.

    Keep up the good work and best regards

    Chris Gerli

    • Thanks a bunch Chris and I’m sure Mark will appreciate your kind words as well. See you in the park!

  2. Nice article about a terrific man doing great things in Forest Park! Charles and Sarah are stunning Great Horned Owls and have been a joy to watch over the past four years with Mark. Mark’s dedication and passion for sharing nature and these owls with visitors to the park is incredible. Nice photos, Danny!

  3. In fact, it was the Owl Man who was responsible for my meeting you, as I was coming up to where one of the owls was and I saw someone with a large lens and tripod aiming the camera into the same tree…and I came up and said hello. What great people I meet because of the Owls..and the Owl Man!

    • Well, thank God for the Owl Man because it has been a great pleasure knowing you, Deepa, as well. Maybe I’ll get to see you one last time at the park before you head home for the winter. We will miss you.

  4. Love those owls, Danny! Their claws match this baby bear in Michigan’s U.P.  last July! ; – ))

    Sent on the new Sprint Network from my Samsung Galaxy S®4.

  5. Thank you Danny. We feel it a privilege to know you both. You are very special men, doing special work.

  6. Great owl photos and a story to match. What more could you want in a post?

  7. Hi Danny, I am just getting around to reading my E Mail’s and I just viewed your photo’s on those beautiful Owl’s, and read the story on the Owl man. Great shots, and story. Thank you for sharing.


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