In the film, Friend Owl is the first character seen in the movie. In the beginning, he returns home (apparently from a hunt) and goes to sleep. However, he's later awakened by Thumper, who tells him that "the new prince is born". Thus, Friend Owl joins several other animals in a thicket, where he first sees Bambi and is the first to congratulate Bambi's mother. After watching the fawn take his first steps, Friend Owl shoos the others away after seeing Bambi yawn. Besides a brief appearance during "Little April Shower" where he is humorously startled by the storm, Friend Owl isn't seen again until he's rudely awakened by the birds singing "Let's Sing a Gay Little Spring Song".
When the birds ignore his attempts to silence them, Friend Owl moves to another tree, only to receive another rude awakening by a stag sharpening his antlers on the tree. Though grumpy at first, Friend Owl cheers up when he recognizes the stag as Bambi, now a young adult. After Thumper and Flower appear, the three notice some birds acting strangely. When they ask about it, Friend Owl explains that they're "twitterpated" (in love). He then goes on to explain what being twitterpated involves, warning the trio that it can happen to them as well, shocking the three into promising that this won't happen to them (which it promptly does).
Friend Owl isn't seen again until the very end when he once again goes to a thicket to meet some newborns, this time the twins of Bambi and Faline.
Friend Owl plays a more important part in Bambi II, where he is a major character and has more screen time than he does than the first film. He appears in the beginning, when the Great Prince first brings a now motherless Bambi to his home. Friend Owl comforts the Great Prince over the mother's death and asks if he can be of any help. The Great Prince asks him to find a doe to replace the mother to take care of Bambi. Though Friend Owl suggests that the Great Prince himself watch over the fawn, he eventually agrees. He later appears to present the groundhog, as it's time for the shadow thing, getting his head stuck in the groundhog's burrow in the process. Later, the Great Prince approaches him, telling him to start the search, which gets off to a flying (literally) start. When he reports this, however, he starts to suspect that the Great Prince is growing attached to Bambi, though he denies it.
Eventually, Friend Owl finds a suitable replacement: a young doe named Mena, who was friends with Bambi's mother. Though Bambi is angered by this treachery, he eventually goes along with it. Friend Owl later appears along with Thumper, Flower, and Mena after Bambi's climactic fight with Man's dogs and, seeing Bambi and the Great Prince's reunion, smiles at Mena, who smiles back and leaves after seeing that Bambi can stay with The Great Prince. He later appears when Thumper tells an exaggerated version of the fight. He sees Bambi and Faline kiss, and grumbles "twitterpated". When Flower asks what that is, Friend Owl promises to tell him when he's older, making a Sequel Hook for the grownup segments of the first film.
- Friend Owl and the Great Prince of the Forest are the only characters in Bambi to has less screen time than the other characters in the film. But they have more screen time in the second film.
- Despite to being the Great Prince's advisor, Friend Owl never seen him in the first film. But he and the Great Prince see themselves in the midquel.
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