Note: Any claim that hybrids can be produced from this highly disparate and very poorly documented cross would require confirmation.
According to contemporary news reports, an owl-rabbit hybrid was shot, while airborne, on Michigan's Menominee River in 1898. Thus, the following notice appeared on page 3, column 4, of the June 10, 1898, issue of The Topeka State Journal, a newspaper published in Topeka, Kansas (source):
Combination of Animal and Bird Falls
to a Druggist’s Gun.
Henry Neville, a druggist of this city was up the [Menominee] river hunting and fishing the other day and he saw what he at first glance supposed to be an owl flying over his head. He fired, and found that the bird he had shot looked like a rabbit. It seemed to have taken refuge under a log, and all that could be seen was its head. At any rate, Neville pulled the animal out of the hole, and saw that it had wings and was the exact counterpart of an owl with the exception of its head, neck and legs. These were like those of a rabbit. The nose, ears, eyes and neck were a rabbit’s, and the legs from the thighs down to the claws were a rabbit’s. The body and wings were those of an owl, the feathers extending to the claws, which were shaped like a rabbit’s, except that they were more than twice as long. The body and wings were gray, but the head and legs were brown.
This story appeared in many newspapers around the country that year, but seems to have originated with the Menominee Enterprise, a newspaper published in Menominee, Michigan.
Another report about the same event, which adds some additional information, appeared on page 2 of the June 11, 1898, issue of The Weekly Wisconsin, a newspaper published in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (source)
A Menominee Man Shoots a Queer Combination of Owl and Rabbit.
One question that arises in connection with these reports: Even if one were to grant that this was a bird-rabbit hybrid, how was the bird portion of this tertium quid identified as owl? The most distinctive portion of an owl's anatomy is the head, and this creature was supposed to have had a rabbit's head. Moreover, the legs and feet, which are the second most distinctive part of an owl, were alleged to be rabbit-like. So then, why did Mr. Neville et al. say an owl was involved, and not some other bird?