Apparently recovered from its run-in with an aggressive dog left off leash by an irresponsible owner the previous day, the north-side Burrowing Owl reoccupied its favorite spot at the water’s edge Sunday morning. But unlike the east-side owl, which seized a spot in full sun with a warm slab of stone behind it, this owl chose a spot in deep shade. From the paved trail, the bird looked almost black in silhouette against the water, until the sun crept round the neighboring fennel and lit the bird up.
Owls obviously have something like personalities. An earlier owl that roosted on a stone not far from this one displayed no fear of people. At one point, Owl Docent Mary M. sat about six feet away from it, and I with my camera on tripod stood about twelve feet away on its other side, and the owl paid us little attention. See this earlier post. That owl stayed about a week. Later came another owl that was, well, paranoid. Or very shy. You couldn’t step off the pavement without stressing this bird. See post.
Both of those birds liked a spot on top of a big wide rock behind a dense screen of fennel. The current occupant of the “North-side Owl” tag shows no interest in that rock. It likes a notch on the water’s edge between two fennel bushes. Once you knew what to look for, it was easy to see from the paved trail. I set up my camera with the screen zeroed on the bird and invited passers-by. “Would you like to see a Burrowing Owl?” Almost everyone did. The video, above, records some of their voices on seeing the bird. I posted a longer video with similar content on Christmas Eve (“Owl is Joy”). This owl showed no particular concern with the small crowds of visitors who sometimes gathered to see it. It looked at us, and it looked at other things, without signs of stress. Much of the time it dimmed its eyes and appeared to nod off, keeping just a slit of daylight under its lids.