Monday, June 14, 2021

Western Burrowing Owl - Owlets on Walker Road (between Hoskins and McNerney)

My sixth group of owlets was both exciting and frustrating. I was traveling down Walker Road going west, between McNerney and Hoskins Road, and noticed a large group of owlets, probably six or eight, standing together off the north side of the road. I was thrilled to see my biggest group of owlets so far! I don't like taking photos out of the passenger side window, so I decided to go to the end of the road and come back going east, so I could photograph them out of the driver side window. When I came back they were gone and I wasn't even sure which burrow they might have gone into. The whole north side of the road is riddled with burrows. Parent owls were there, one on top of a telephone pole and the other standing on the ground. I must have waited 30 minutes and no owlets came out. So I decided to drive a few more roads and come back. 

When I came back I waited some more, and finally noticed one parent with a lizard hanging from its beak. This is the same parent that kept up a steady stream of calls which I'm sure meant "danger, stay in the hole." Go to this link and listen to the second one: Calls (Western)
This parent owl held the lizard in its beak for a long time, refusing to go down the burrow or to bring her owlets out. She flew around to several places before finally going down into the burrow and she never did come back out. 

Eventually one owlet popped its head out of a burrow for a minute (this was before the parent went down the hole with the lizard), but I only got a few photos before it went down again and did not come back up. I probably spent an hour at that hole for those few photos (although seeing the parent with a lizard was fun).

Here is the photo of the other parent standing on top of the telephone pole which is right next to the burrow. That owl did not move the entire time, first or second visit, other than to rotate its body on the pole.  

1 comment:

  1. An hour watching the holes? Wow, this is one visit I am glad I wasn't accompanying you, cool lizard photos or not.