Owl Returns

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) Dec. 17 2022
Three long lenses observing the owl from the Open Circle Viewpoint. Distance to owl from viewpoint = ~110 yards.

After two days off, when its human friends did not know where it was, the Burrowing Owl returned. This morning, Saturday the 17th, the owl stood in Perch A, in the shelter of the dried California Poppy bush, where you could only see it if you stood in the Open Circle Viewpoint with a loooong lens. And a small fan club of long-lensers gathered there to record the bird’s every wink and scratch.

Did the bird have a hard night? It appeared sleepy this morning, often letting its lids shut, or almost shut. It also looked calmer and more relaxed than any owl I can recall watching. Its stress level, measured by the number of head rotations per minute, was at an all time low. I filmed, and included in the video above, a segment of 1 minute 46 seconds during which the bird did not rotate its head. In the 24-min documentary, “The Owls Came Back,” (2019) I counted a head RPM of 8 as the base line of a very relaxed, secure-feeling owl. I have never before seen an awake bird hold its head still for as long as 15 seconds, much less 1:46. I know that watching an owl not move its head is not the conventional formula for exciting wildlife video, but it deserves recording nonetheless as a behavioral benchmark. There’s a few seconds of Ground Squirrel, yawn, and preen at the end, by way of consolation.

For puzzle lovers and/or statisticians, here is a little spreadsheet that tracks the owl’s location since its arrival. Can you find patterns? For example, on Tuesdays the owl is most likely to be in Perch B. Would you like to wager on where the owl will be tomorrow?

Here’s the link to open the spreadsheet.

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One thought on “Owl Returns

  • Thanks for the pictures of two friends. I would definitely buy a t-shirt or two of this pair.

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