Burrowing Owl
Athene cunicularia
The Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) is widespread throughout grassland habitat from southern Canada to southern Argentina. In the western United States and Mexico it often nests in colonies of prairie dogs. In the winter months this species often shows up in seemingly odd places in southern and coastal locations. The species is diurnal, which means it is active during the daytime. The bird shown here was photographed in December, 1994, at San Luis Pass in Galveston Co., Texas. A Canon T-90 and Sigma 500mm F4.5 lens was used for both this shot and the next.
The bird on the right was photographed in February, 1998, in a concrete irrigation pipe in the middle of a farm field near McAllen, Texas.
The Burrowing Owl in this shot was perched on the edge of a hay bale in Guadalupe Co., Texas, in February, 1987.
The bird on the right was standing on a wooden sign at a golf course in Marathon, Florida in April, 1996. The photo was shot with a Canon T-90 and Sigma 500mm F4.5 lens on Kodachrome 64 from a tripod.
The Burrowing Owl here was perched on a fence in Cherry Co., Nebraska, in June, 2001. It was shot with a Canon EOS 3 and 600mm F4 L lens on Fuji Velvia.
The Burrowing Owl on the right was perched on top of the stone chimney of the old jail at historic Fort Stockton in the town of Fort Stockton, Pecos Co., Texas, in June, 2005. The shot was taken with a Canon EOS 1D Mark II and EF 600mm F/4 L IS lens.
The next two shots were also taken in Fort Stockton, Texas, but in September, 2006. The same gear as the previous shot was used to take the images. This Burrowing Owl was standing next to its burrow entrance.
I spent a very enjoyable late afternoon in early June, 2007, on the grounds of the old fort at Fort Stockton, Texas, where I found a family of Burrowing Owls. I had been to this area a number of times in the past as can be seen by some of the previous shots, but I had never before found a family of owls. Two adults were busily trying to feed and deal with 4 youngsters and their antics were a pure delight to watch. On the right, an adult keeps an eye on the youngsters from a nearby rock, while the next 2 shots show two youngsters emerging from the burrow as the sun gets low in the afternoon. All of the shots were taken from a car window while I was parked on a public street. I used a Canon EOS 1D Mark III and EF 600mm F/4 L IS lens and often a 1.4 or 2X extender.
Another youngster emerges from the burrow and gives a big yawn. Below are several more shots of the youngsters as they vocalize and keep a watch out for the adults bringing food.
In the set of shots shown here, a youngster is shown begging from an adult. The young bird, shown here, continually tugged at the adults face as if trying to get its attention. The 4th shot at right shows one youngster biting the neck of another youngster. This seemed to all be in play.
The shots shown here show more interaction between a juvenile bird and an adult as well as two young birds in a sort of wrestling match. In another shot, an adult has delivered a beetle to one of the youngsters.
I had the impression that this harried adult shown here was looking back at me with an expression of "have you ever seen such misbehaving children?"
Below will be 7 more shots taken on this occasion. I really like the shot of the yawning youngster as well as the images of the three young birds lined up in stair-step fashion as they wait for an adult to bring food.
The adult Burrowing Owl shown here was perched on some scrub at the Pawnee National Grasslands, Weld Co., Colorado, in June, 2007. This shot was taken with the same gear described previously.
The next 6 images of Burrowing Owl show adults near a nest burrow. These images were taken at Fort Stockton, Pecos Co., Texas, in May, 2008. I suspect this pair had young in the burrow, but I was there a little early for the young to be out investigating their new world.
The next five shots show a wintering Burrowing Owl near Granger Lake in Williamson Co., Texas, in January, 2014.