Saturday, April 10, 2021

Western Burrowing Owl

I visited the Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR early yesterday morning and was surprised to see all of the changes. The area that had been a small lake previously, with a blind next to it, was now a dirt lot. Right next to it, an area that had been reeds as high as my head, was now cleared with dark dirt and small green plants growing in it. It spoke volumes about the active management of the refuge. Ironically I was thinking about burrowing owls and that I'd never photographed one. I'd read somewhere that this area had lots of them, but I'd never seen one here. After leaving Sonny Bono, I drove east down Bannister Road and then left on to Lack Road and I saw two little birds, one on the ground and one standing on a post, that looked like they might be burrowing owls. I stopped, and they were, and the next two hours or so I saw approximately 12 burrowing owls and took over 600 photos of them. 

In sorting through my photos I concentrated on trying to get a variety of different looks. 

The burrowing owl is found in western North America, Central America and large portions of South America. There are 18 subspecies, two of which are extinct, but all in the western U.S., Canada and Mexico are known as the western burrowing owl. 

The burrowing owl nests and roosts in burrows and they are often active during the day, although they primarily hunt from dusk to dawn. 
I love this owl's heavily white face.

They have bright yellow eyes, a flattened facial disc, prominent white eyebrows and a white chin patch. Their heads and wings are brown with white spotting and the chest and abdomen are white with variable brown spotting or barring. There legs are longer, proportionally, than legs of other owls. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, incredible photos. I especially like the one of the owl with closed eyes (#17). Is it blinking, or is it sleeping?