Cold Owl

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) Nov. 11 2022

This chilly morning, I found the Burrowing Owl hunkered down, as if hugging itself to stay warm. It was odd, though, that it had both feet on the ground again, as it did yesterday. Usually, when at rest, the owl draws up one foot and stands on the other. Even more odd was the owl’s low rate of head motion. I filmed more than one minute when the owl did not move at all — something I’ve never seen a Burrowing Owl do. The head movements that the owl made, shown in the video, came at the lowest RPM (head rotations per minute) that I’ve ever observed in a Burrowing Owl here. I don’t know whether this means that the owl felt extremely secure, or very sleepy (it occasionally closed its eyes), or that the bird was sick somehow.

Then again, the Owl might just have been copying a Black-crowned Night-Heron that took up a perch not far away. I’ve seen this young bird several times on the south side of the Open Circle Viewpoint, snoozing well into the morning sun. Today it took flight from there and landed below the owl, as shown in this photo. Imitating a statue is normal behavior for this heron. If lack of motion works for a heron, why not for an owl?

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) and Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) Nov 11 2022

Here’s a closeup of the heron, below left. Also sharing the area with the owl were several Savannah Sparrows. One of them held still long enough for me to get its picture.

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2 thoughts on “Cold Owl

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  • What a great post! I love seeing how well-camouflaged the owl is, next to that dried foliage. And then to see both it and the young night heron. A real treat. Thank you.

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