Last Owl of the Year

The Burrowing Owl first spotted in the Nature Area on the north side of the park at the beginning of the month, and then occasionally after that, was either back or still there and visible again on New Year’s Eve. As before, this bird kept a low profile, sometimes showing just the crown of its head, rarely its whole head with both eyes and beak. It perched in a hole, undoubtedly dug by ground squirrels, who busied themselves sometimes just inches away.

When I first arrived, the bird was visible from the paved perimeter trail. Then, while I was struggling with camera settings, it vanished from view. But other park visitors said they could see it from the maintenance road that cuts through the Nature Area, and I relocated there and continued filming.

While I was watching the bird, two different people each with a dog off leash cruised through a footpath in the Nature Area, even though this is off limits, and new signs have been recently posted. Their dogs at least kept more or less to the trail. Then a third dog owner arrived with a dog that roamed at high speed back and forth through the area, at one point within a yard or two of the owl’s position (the bird ducked out of sight). The owner appeared totally unconcerned and didn’t even look where the dog was or what it was doing.

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)

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