Owl in the Grass

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) Photo by Phil Rowntree

The first confirmed Burrowing Owl to be seen and photographed in the park this season peeked out of the wilted grass in the Nature Area on the north side of the park this rainy Wednesday morning. Photographer Phil Rowntree was there and managed to squeeze off this shot between gusts of wind and rain.

I arrived at the spot half an hour later but did not see the bird. It had either gone underground in the vegetation or taken wing and flown elsewhere. It was not perching in any of the sites where Burrowing Owls were seen during this past winter season. (See The Owls Came Back movie.) No birds of this species were spotted in the Nature Area last year; they all preferred perches at the water’s edge and sheltered by vegetation from overhead view.

If the owl departed the area, one reason may have been the White-tailed Kite that patrolled the sky over the Nature Area and perched in a small tree there as I watched. I’ll post video of this bird separately. The kite may not be quite big enough to take a Burrowing Owl, but the owl may not have wanted to hang around to find out.

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