Owl Call: Saturday March 14

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) seen from the maintenance road

During the midday lull in the rains today, I went to check on the Burrowing Owl on the north side of the park. Scanning its habitual spot from the paved perimeter trail, I saw no sign of it; see photo below. Then, just to be absolutely sure, I walked “around the corner” up the dirt road that bisects the nature area, and there in the thick grass I saw a light brown spot that might have been a branch or a weed head or nothing. Dragging the camera there as the rain began to fall again, I focused — and bingo! The owl is still there.

Rain does not bother Burrowing Owls, as I found out when making the “Owls Came Back” movie last year. I had thought they would take shelter in their burrows, but quite the opposite. The owls never stood out so openly and fearlessly as in a downpour. That was last year. This owl today didn’t duck into a burrow, but it did hide deep in the grass and stay out of sight. Possibly it had contemplated flying north today, and was put off by the bad flying weather. It’s now stayed three days longer than the last owl to leave last spring. Maybe it’ll make history and remain here on the Ides of March. We’ll see tomorrow.

The owl’s usual habitat as seen from the paved perimeter trail today — no sign of the bird

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