Friend Owl is a local owl in the forest, known by all of the residents. He appears to be close to the royal family (Bambi, his mother, and the Great Prince of the Forest). While incredibly cheerful most of the time, Friend Owl is better known for his mildly grumpy attitude. He strongly dislikes the Springtime because the animals and birds tend to become twitterpated (which is his nickname for falling in love) and always disturb him during that time of the year.
As said above, he holds a friendship with the forest's royal family, most notably the Great Prince of the Forest as seen in Bambi II, where Friend Owl and the Great Prince commonly speak with each other.
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, until 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 hearing Bambi yawn. Besides a brief appearance during "Little April Shower", Friend Owl isn't seen again until he's rudely awakened by the birds singing "Let's Sing a Gay Little Spring Song".
When his attempts to silence the birds fail, Friend Owl moves to another tree, but is rudely awakened again, this time by a stag sharpening his antlers on the tree. Friend Owl is grumpy at first but cheers up when he recognizes the stag as Bambi, who is 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. He appears in the beginning when the Great Prince of the Forest 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 when he learns that his father was giving him to someone else (along with Friend Owl feeling guilty for breaking the news at the worst time), he eventually, yet reluctantly 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. 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.
Friend Owl made a small cameo appearance in the 1960 Disney animated short film, Goliath II. He is seen being woken up when the elephants jumped into the water to escape the mouse who scared the elephants.
In 2012, during Disneyland Paris' 20th anniversary, Friend Owl had his own Disneyland Paris Anniversary Collection Card.
One of Bambi's deleted concepts included a song titled "Twitterpated", which was meant for Friend Owl to sing. The song was cut as it was decided that the principle forest animals should not sing.
The animation of Friend Owl being awakened by Bambi sharpening his antlers against the tree he was in was reused in Goliath II.
In the cover of the 1966 vinyl record "Thumper's Great Race", Friend Owl is given a different design where he's depicted wearing glasses and his entire body was colored blue and white fur around his chin. While his design in the 1970 book version "Thumper's Race" closely resembles his film design but still notably different. In both versions, he's known as "The Wise Old Owl"
Concepts of Friend Owl with owlettes, suggesting he may have been female at some point.