Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) Dec. 29 2022

At around 9 this morning, the Burrowing Owl seemed sleepy. The overnight rain showers had dimmed to a drizzle at this time. The bird stood in Perch B, where park visitors could see it from the paved perimeter path. During the 20 minutes that I let the camera run, the owl’s eyelids were probably more often closed than open. But that didn’t mean the bird was asleep. There was almost always a tiny slit where it could peek out. And its exquisitely sensitive ears remained on the alert. During this sequence, the bird took no notice of several people who stopped and looked at it from the path.

Twice now I’ve had reports from park visitors that on mornings when I saw the owl in Perch A, out of sight, between about 7:30 and 9:30, the bird moved to Perch B later in the morning, around 11ish. I would certainly love to capture the bird’s flight during this transition, but I don’t know that I have the patience.

In unrelated good news, a park visitor this morning reported seeing a Black-tailed Jackrabbit, “a big one,” scampering in the northwest corner just a few minutes earlier. No photos, regrettably. For some time there has been concern among nature watchers at not seeing jackrabbits, wondering what might have happened to them. Apparently, they — or at least one — are still here.

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One thought on “Nodding

  • “… the owl’s eyelids were probably more often down than open ….”

    During the 1-minute video, it was mostly the lower eyelids that were closing (raising) and opening (lowering), while the upper lids remained up.

    I still wonder why the owl sometimes opens/closes its eyes using the upper lids, and sometimes using the lower lids. Does it have to do with whether the owl is “blinking” down the upper lid perhaps to clear/moisten it eye, vis-à-vis grabbing a quick “nap” when closing its eyes by raising the lower lids? Or, …?

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