Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Western Burrowing Owl - Owlets on Bannister Road

I found a second burrow with owlets quite by accident on June 4th. It was early morning, shortly after the sun had come up. I'd been down Vendel Road, at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR, unit 1, and had turned east on Bannister Road. Before reaching Baker Road, I spotted several owlets on the north side of the road running along the ground at a place I'd not seen burrowing owls previously. I backed up and the owls scampered into the burrow. The burrow was at the base of what looks like an irrigation canal regulator, but can't be because the owls would not have a burrow beneath one. 

One parent owl stayed put, standing on the contraption above the burrow and the other parent joined it for awhile on another part of the contraption. The most adventurous owlet kept its head out of the burrow most of the time. I waited quite awhile, sitting in my car with the driver's side window down, waiting for the owlets to come back out. 
One parent stands on the contraption next to the pinkish/red flag that identifies the area as a burrowing owl burrow. 

Both parents and one owlet below.

One parent and three owlets below. 

At one point both parents joined the owlets in the burrow. My photo shows one of the owlets. 
Eventually a second owlet jointed the first owlet, then a third, and finally a fourth owlet joined them for a brief period before vehicles going down Bannister Road, particularly a large tractor, spooked it back into the burrow. 
Two owlets.

Eventually a third owlet emerged. 

Four owlets.

This photo shows that the left owl above is an owlet.

This photo shows that the second from left owl above is also an owlet. 
This and several other burrows with owlets I saw the same day confirmed that I've been early in looking for owlets. 

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