Owl Is Joy

Dozens of Sunday afternoon park visitors passed by the spot where I had my camera mounted on tripod and focused on the Burrowing Owl at the water’s edge. Almost all of them wanted to see the owl. Some had never seen a Burrowing Owl before. Others had not seen one for a long time.

This five-minute video is not so much about the bird as about the people who are encountering the bird. The sound track captures their expressions of wonder and joy. There is something about the Burrowing Owl that draws gasps of delight and touches deep streams of affection.

This is the same owl, almost certainly, as the one that held the same spot yesterday and on Solstice Friday. The location is on the north side of the park, a bit past the first Barn Owl box about 200 yards west of the fenced Burrowing Owl preserve.

Several visitors asked why the owl was here and not in the flat grassy preserve intended for it. No one knows, of course. One visitor noted that this owl liked to be right next to the water and directly next to and under some tall vegetation, such as the local fennel. “They’re hiding,” she noted, pointing out that the fenced area had no tall vegetation for the owls to hide under. In the belief that the owls preferred flat areas with clear sight lines, all the tall vegetation in the intended preserve was chopped down last fall.

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