Undercover Owl

Borrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)
Can you see the owl? It’s there!

Apart from a few moments when it stood up, the Burrowing Owl in the Nature Area on the north side of the park seemed to be on an undercover assignment. If I had not known more or less exactly where it perched yesterday, I would not have seen it today at all. Only the barest bump of speckled brown could be seen among the grasses, and if the owl had not moved its head, even that bump would have blended into the background. Fortunately, its curiosity or some sense of danger motivated the owl to rise up and look around for a minute or two now and then, and during those intervals lucky park visitors were able to see the bird and convince themselves that it was real. “I’ve been looking for them for years and never saw one,” said one park visitor. “You made my day!”

Photographer James Kusz, whose work has appeared here several times, found this interesting video about Burrowing Owls on the internet and shared it with me. In areas where there are rattlesnakes, the owls, including very young ones, are able to mimic the sound of the snake’s rattle as a way of scaring off predators. We don’t have rattlesnakes in the park, but it’s an interesting fact to know. This video has a bit of promo material for the sponsor but the core content is worth watching:


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2 thoughts on “Undercover Owl

  • November 24, 2020 at 11:37 pm
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    As a teenager in early/mid 1950’s, still-there, undeveloped SE Florida, the abundant burrowing owls, gopher tortoises, and Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes, all using burrows were common acquaintances as I regularly wandered the coastal sand ridge’s rosemary and sand pine scrub and prairie grasslands. The owls indeed “rattled”.

  • November 24, 2020 at 8:46 pm
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    You’re an intrepid owl tracker! thank you.

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