Burrowing Owls love rain, but not forever. A reliable observer reported that Second Owl (the visible one) was in its usual spot around 10 a.m. on Sunday, the day the rains began. But when I managed to get to the park around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday with the rain having come down fairly solidly since around noon, and coming down at the time, neither the First Owl (the hidden one) nor the Second Owl could be seen. I gathered that they had had enough and found shelter somewhere. Today, Monday the 13th, it had rained all night and most of the morning, but there was a gap in the rain between around 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. I took advantage and visited the park. The First Owl remained out of sight, but the Second Owl, to my amazement, was in its usual spot. Its outer feathers on the south side, where the wind and wet were coming from, looked partially soaked, as did the feathers on its head and a bit elsewhere. But the bird has several layers of insulation. It puffed itself up and very probably felt toasty inside.
The rain and wind started again around 1 pm. I had had enough myself and left the park. If anyone saw the owl site later in the afternoon, please report whether the bird remained in its place. Thank you.
This may be the place to lay to rest a theory I heard from a park visitor. He thought the owls stayed above ground in the rain because the ground squirrel burrows flooded. If that were the case, the ground squirrels would all drown. Yet after the rains we see them come out quite chipper and in good numbers. In reality, the squirrels figured out eons ago how to deal with rain. They dug drainage tunnels leading out to the rip-rap at the shore to clear the water from their homes, and dug their nesting chambers at the end of upsloping tunnels so that they would stay dry and cozy in any downpour. The owls, if they chose to hide there, would be quite safe. The First Owl, however, chose a site on the rip-rap and very probably sought out a dry chamber among the rocks as its refuge.