Saturday, December 1, 2012

Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl
 Burrowing owls are a part of of a genus of smaller owls called Athene. The burrowing owl is the only member of the genus that is found in North or South America. They live in open grassland, agricultural fields, and desserts in the western half of North America, Mexico, and parts of Central and South America. They live in underground burrows which they most often commandeer from rodents such as prairie dogs or larger ground squirrels, they will also use holes that are dug by badgers looking for prey. They often collect animal dung which they use to line the entrance to the burrow to help detour predators. They will nest as far north as south central Canada but birds that nest in Canada and the northern U.S. will migrate south for the winter. Most of the other burrowing owls will stay on territory year round.
Burrowing Owl
While most U.S. burrowing owls live in the west there is a subspecies that lives in Florida and the Caribbean. Since their are not any larger digging rodents that live in their range these burrowing owls dig their own burrows. The loose sand found in the area make this possible. The first shot is of a western burrowing owl photographed in Idaho while the second shot is a Florida burrowing owl. Burrowing owls will hunt at any time day or night but they prefer hunting in the morning or evening. They eat a wide variety of prey depending on what is available. They typically eat a lot of large insects, such as grasshoppers, scorpions and beetles, which they catch during the day. At night they usually hunt for rodents such as mice, rats and ground squirrels. They will also eat things like snakes, lizards and small birds. It is often possible to see borrowing owls during the day, often sitting on the ground or a low pole, which makes them easier to photograph. During the middle of the day though they are usually back in their burrows to get out of the midday heat.


Pat said...

Wonderful captures. A beautiful owl.

Black Jack's Carol said...

I enjoyed your photo and your commentary about Burrowing Owls.

DeniseinVA said...

Oh what a magnificent little owl. Cool photos!

Anni said...

Those eyes!!! Oh those eyes. Terrific images, as always.

Thanks for linking up this week at the Bird D'Pot. Have a glorious week ahead!

Martha Z said...

Only once, years ago, have I uncounted one of these birds.

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