Owls are playful, says ornithologist Rob Bierregaard. ”We have videos of owls in the nest pouncing on feathers and jumping in the nest. No apparent purpose to this. Just playfulness.”

Scientists suspect that play depends on cognition, and species with bigger brains play more, says Jennifer Ackerman, author of What an Owl Know—The New Science of the World’s Most Enigmatic Birds.

“Play is activity that’s exaggerated, awkward and inappropriate, nonfunctional and repetitive. It’s generally spontaneous, intentional, pleasurable and rewarding—and initiated only when an animal is relaxed.”