Sixth Day

Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia)

On the sixth day, both of the Burrowing Owls who arrived at the park on November 2 were still in residence, both at the same location where first spotted. The first owl on this cold morning had retreated about as far as it could go under the shelter of the dried California Poppy bush on the east side of the seasonal Burrowing Owl Sanctuary. Its position is invisible from the perimeter trail, and this morning it was almost invisible from the Open Circle Viewpoint because of the owl’s withdrawal deep into the shrubbery. I had to climb out on the slope east of the stone seating area to get the video, above. This owl was awake and seemed uncomfortable, possibly because of the chill in the air and the breeze. Maybe it had been thinking of a more tropical winter retreat.

Meanwhile the second owl remained on the surface, easily visible from the trail, and drawing more and more admirers from among the passing park visitors. This bird has got quite accustomed to people. It reacts very little or not at all when park visitors step up with their cellphones or when they exclaim how special, cute, beautiful, lovable etc. it is.

While I was at the scene this morning, every passing dog was on leash, and two of the dog owners promised to confront any other dog owners they saw who had dogs off leash and tell them to leash up. Still, there will be the irresponsible owner element, and the artistic fence around the sanctuary is ineffective as a barrier. It only takes one off-leash invasion to drive this bird away. I also worry that the spot this bird has chosen offers next to no protection from overhead attack. The bird no doubt squats next to a Ground Squirrel burrow, but I wonder whether it will be quick enough to dive for safety if a Red-tailed Hawk or a similar big raptor strikes. The other owl, the first, has chosen a much more secure location. But it isn’t the crowd-pleaser that the second owl has become.

Second owl (Athene cunicularia)

Similar Posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

Translate »