Owl Takes Cover

“First Owl” — Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) Jan., 24 2022 3:15 pm

I filmed the First Owl from the Open Circle Viewpoint this afternoon. From the perimeter trail, I could only see the crown of its head. As I watched, the bird became concerned by something happening behind it, on or over the North Basin water. All I could see there were a few American Coot and, in the far distance, a raft of maybe as many as a hundred big grebes, probably Western Grebes. They aren’t known to attack birds on land, and in any event, all but a few watchbirds were sleeping. So much for my human eyes. The owl’s eyes saw something more, and it didn’t like it. After checking over the water repeatedly, the bird took alarm and scrambled off its rocky perch into a crack between the stones, out of sight. I waited some minutes, but it did not return.

A park visitor earlier told me of an incident that took place this past Saturday up by the Second Owl’s customary perch on the ground in the central circle of the Burrowing Owl Sanctuary. A man came by with an off leash dog. The dog jumped through the fence and lunged for the sitting owl. The owl took flight and retreated toward the water. The owner said, “Bad dog!” Another park visitor, who witnessed the scene, corrected him. “No, bad owner!” After some time, when the dog and its owner had cleared off, the owl returned to its spot.

The Second Owl, as many visitors have noted, tolerates people and their antics without signs of anxiety. I’ve seen kids sit on the retaining wall watching, gesturing, and talking as kids do, without any reaction from the owl. Dozens of good owners with dogs on leash have stopped to look, and the owl has shown no reaction. This owl’s behavior resembles the urban owls reported from places like Cape Coral, Florida, or cities in South America. (See “In and Out,” Jan. 3 2022.) The First Owl, by contrast, has a sensitive trigger.

“First Owl” — Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) Jan., 24 2022 3:15 pm

Similar Posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »