"This time of year, the young great horned owls are getting evicted from parents' territories," LeBaron told The Dodo. "They are also learning to feed and do everything on their own, so they may be more food stressed and searching for food in the daytime."
But unfortunately for this owl, peregrine falcons are territorial birds. It's likely that the falcons saw the owl blundering through their territory, and didn't want the competition. Spitzer told Chicago's WGN-TV that a bird rescue team was called, but the owl was able to fly away before they arrived.
So that brings us to the question of the hour: Can owls swim? Clearly, the answer is yes, though LeBaron said he's never seen anything quite like this before. Lots of predatory birds eat fish, though, so it's not uncommon for them to get bogged down in the water.
"This rowing behavior happens sometimes when these kinds of predators are trying to catch fish in the water and get waterlogged enough so they can't take off," he said. Ospreys, who are excellent fish-catchers, have been observed doing this several times in the wild.