The sun poured out of a bright blue sky in mainland Berkeley Thursday morning, but a dense fog sat on the Marina. Verifying the presence of the Burrowing Owl was a piece of work, even when you knew its habitual roosting spot. But it was there! Forbidding weather actually works to the bird’s advantage. In the more than two hours that I watched it, I saw not a single off-leash dog, and no heavy raptors flew overhead. The bird’s head movements were less frequent and more relaxed than yesterday.
This owl has now exceeded the stay of last year’s North Owl, which was last seen on March 11. Possibly this owl’s breeding territory lies further north than last season’s owls, so that it’s waiting for the thaw there before heading north. But that’s all speculation. Whatever the reason, it’s a pleasure to have the bird here. Like yesterday, among the park visitors who stopped to look at the owl there were several who had never seen a Burrowing Owl before, and some who did not believe they were real.