Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)

Burrowing Owl Update: See below

I was lucky to find this Savannah Sparrow in the mood to have its video portrait taken. Usually they are so busy that filming one is an action sequence. Here it perched on a rock on the east side of the park about even with the Flare Station. This is where I’ve usually seen Savannahs when they’re here. With their yellow eyebrows and bold streaks they’re among the prettiest of sparrows, in my opinion. I also like those pink legs and beak.

Savannah Sparrows nest on the ground, in tall grasses or other vegetation. They aren’t going to be doing that this winter, but come Spring their hormones will kick in and breeding will be top priority. It really would be considerate if Park management would avoid mowing a portion of the meadow just southeast of the Flare Station, where these birds (and others) made their nests a few years ago when mowing was omitted there for once. See “Saved from Mower” Apr 26 2019.

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)

Burrowing Owl Update Thursday Nov. 3 2022

As if to punish me and others who hoped that the Burrowing Owl was settling in for the winter season, the bird could not be seen yesterday (Wednesday 11/2) and again this morning. It was first spotted on Friday Oct. 30. I scanned its perching site in detail from several angles yesterday and today and saw no sign of it. I also searched the other spots where Burrowing Owls have been seen in recent years without result.

This absence does not necessarily mean that the owl has moved elsewhere for the duration. Owls that are settled in for the season also take occasional “days off” when they disappear to parts unknown, and then return. See “The Owls Came Back.” But an absence this early raises serious doubts about the bird’s plans for the winter season.

Owls in the past have also arrived later in November and even in December. If this particular owl has moved south, other owls may still arrive.

If you see this or another Burrowing Owl in or around the park, please call or text me at 510-717-2414. Thank you.

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