A thick layer of fog blanketed the Marina this morning, but the Burrowing Owl was in its customary spot at Perch B when I visited at 8:30. Fears that the bird had begun its Spring migration proved premature. While I filmed the owl, it stood calm and relaxed, looking left and right in its usual way, except for one episode, which is shown in the video above. The owl spotted a threat in the sky and, after tracking it in detail, climbed down out of sight for shelter in the rocks below its feet. It remained off camera for one minute and twenty seconds, and then resurfaced. It checked out the scene, decided it was safe, and settled down again.
Once again the camera was running unattended when this incident happened. I was walking a few minutes away. I have no clue what alarmed the bird. I saw a number of gulls. I saw and heard crows. I did not see a bird of prey in the area, but the fog was dense. The owl has much better eyes. Whatever the threat was, the bird took timely shelter and emerged unharmed. I was impressed by the speed and range of the owl’s head motions as it tracked its target in the sky. I doubt that the military has radar with comparable speed and accuracy.