Owl Found

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)

The Burrowing Owl first imaged in the Nature Area on the north side of the park on November 10 but not seen for about ten days now was visible again this morning shortly before noon. The bird perched in a slight depression, undoubtedly containing the entrance to a burrow. When the owl stood up high, it could be seen plainly with the naked eye. But when the bird lowered its head and flattened its body close to the ground, it became invisible. To see it at all I had to stand in the same spot as the original viewpoint, on the paved perimeter path, just east of the Barn Owl box. (A piece of dead fennel on the ground marks the spot and the direction of view.) Take four steps in either direction and the bird disappears. The short video above contains as an appendix a zoom out and back in to help viewers locate the bird.

At the time that I viewed it, the owl appeared highly alert, as indicated by the frequency of its head rotations and changes in its body posture. It looked quickly in all directions horizontally and also up at the sky. In the past, owls that I’ve watched usually relax around midday and may shut one or both eyes and take a light nap, relying on their hearing to alert them to danger. Not this bird at this time. It probably didn’t help that a x-country biker rode through the Nature Area not ten feet from the bird. People and dogs are prohibited in the Nature Area, but the signage is neither clear nor located where it needs to be.

There is no way to know whether the owl was gone elsewhere during the days that no one saw it, or whether it just kept its head down in the same location. Or, indeed, whether it’s the same owl.

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)

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One thought on “Owl Found

  • February 11, 2021 at 1:16 pm
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    Aww, thanks for the owl credit! Wes (my husband) is the better owl spotter.

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