I got to the park during a slowdown in the rain that fell most of the night and continued much of the morning. As I expected, the Burrowing Owl was out there standing in the same spot as yesterday, in the rain, obviously wet but not unhappy enough to seek shelter. From time to time it shook itself like a wet dog. The rip-rap embankment where it perches offered any number of sheltered caves where a bird could hide out until the rain stopped. The owl chose to stand out in the wetness and let it pour.
This is consistent with the behavior I’ve seen in these owls over the past few years. See “Owls in Rain” Nov 9 2021 and “The Owls Came Back” movie. It surprised me at first. Now I expect it. An owl may stand out even in a heavy downpour. Given how well insulated they are, the rain doesn’t get to their skin and make them uncomfortable. They may find the rain useful as a way to clean their outer feathers, like taking a shower. As the photo below shows, their heavy eyebrows will tend to keep raindrops from blurring their vision.
But their tolerance for rain does have limits. After many solid hours of rain, they’ve had enough and disappear from our view. Whereto, exactly? I don’t know.