Revisiting the Burrowing Owls

By Dan Weisz

It’s always nice to revisit the Burrowing Owls. They are such expressive birds.

Here is one Burrowing Owl that was introduced to the Wild At Heart site in Marana, standing in front of its man-made burrow and wearing the band it was given in rehab.

A different owl (by its band number) either blinking or sleeping outside of its burrow.

And now it’s very wide awake

At another site, an owl is preening and cleaning its leg but it sure looks like he’s marching along.

All birds look special while standing on one leg, but I like the element of danger that this open-clawed owl displays. I am pretty sure it didn’t mean anything by this stance other than the bird getting lost in the moment.

Here is a close-up of that open foot. That knobby surface helps to grip prey or perch. The owl’s feet are feathered as well.

Burrowing Owls have white eyebrows and a white chin-patch but this owl looks “gray” all over. Not sure if this is due to being mid-molt, or if this is a male who spent a lot of time in the sun. Either way, this owl has a look of ‘Grandpa’ in him.

Yeah, yeah, tell me about it!

At this burrow entrance, you can see how the burrow ‘fits’ under the concrete irrigation canal.

The last time I went out there, only one owl was above the ground. It was a good looking owl though. If you look on its beak, you can tell this owl was working on its burrow, either maintaining it or enlarging it. There is dirt on its beak.

And as Burrowing Owls do, he nicely turned his head sideways to get a better, or different, look at me. From this angle, you can see it even got some dirt in its nostril while digging – definitely a hazard or byproduct of living that lifestyle.

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