This beautiful, dark burrowing owl has chosen a rather conspicuous spot for a home next to a busy road. However, it has also gotten to be quite good at hunkering down and staying out of sight. This is zoomed in and cropped but to the naked eye, you would be hard-pressed to spot it if you didn’t know where to look.
This guy was very keen on guarding his burrow, presumably with his mate hidden within. The morning sun was gorgeous and lit him up nicely.
I always have a ton of fun photographing these summertime visitors to the Colorado plains. This year though, all but one of my usual ‘hot spots’ has come up dry and I haven’t had much luck finding more. They are out there, I hope! Just going to have to put some miles on my truck to find them
My first sighting of these awesome little guys this year.
A friend let me know he had eyes on some east of Denver but at the time I was well north of the area photographing a different subject. I wrapped that up and raced down to see. While there will be plenty of time and opportunities to get pics later this year, the first of the season is always a bit exciting.
By the time I got there, it was mid-morning, the light was harsh and the somewhat heavy traffic at this particular spot seemed to have the owls a bit shy so the pics aren’t anything extraordinary. Nevertheless, it is fun to have these summertime residents back.
Another one of the summertime critters that I am looking forward to seeing soon.
Usually I see the burrowing owls return to the Colorado plains during the first couple of weeks of April. That time of year, snow is not out of the question here and I suspect that sometimes that catches the little guys off guard.
This image was taken last year and was the first owl of the season I had seen. We had just received a nice shot of snow and as I was driving, I see it hanging out right next to the road. It was quite patient and not the least bit bothered by me. The owl even gave me some nice calls which is what it was doing when this image was taken.
Going back to the beginning of July for this image of a male Burrowing Owl near Denver International Airport. It seemed pretty clear the guy didn’t really appreciate having a camera pointed at him. 😉
A friend had turned me onto a spot that had a number of families of these cool little dudes hanging out and while I didn’t get to spend much time with them, I did have fun when I did.
In Colorado, Burrowing Owls are here during the spring and summer. By now, most, if not all, have started their migration south to warmer environs for the winter. I will be anxiously awaiting their return.
“I’m telling you, that Prairie Dog was THIS big!”
These four Burrowing Owl owlets were quite animated on this morning a couple weeks ago. No, they weren’t really chatting about the neighboring rodents. They were however getting very close to flying and there was a lot of wing flapping going on. Here, one was testing out those wings while three of its siblings looked on.
A male Burrowing Owl and a Prairie Dog face off over the rights to an underground home. Very fun to watch this interaction.
These two creatures have a very symbiotic relationship and normally get along great. The owls use abandoned Prairie Dogs’ burrows and they both share watch duties keeping all safe from intruders by sounding alarms when danger approaches.
The pair of Burrowing Owls at this spot though was very protective of their clan and did not like it when any type of creature intruded. In this case, the owl was being a bit over-protective. Its burrow was actually about 20 yards away and all this Prairie Dog was doing was wanting to return to its own home.
Thankfully for the Prairie Dog, the owls don’t sit for long so it just waited till the owl moved on and then it reclaimed its home.
A couple of very busy parents here with five little ones to take care of. I spent hours watching them this past Wednesday and had an absolute blast.
Mom hung out close to the nest, keeping close watch on the owlets. Dad opted to hang out about 20 yards away for the most part but was far from disconnected. In fact, three times he brought home meals for the family. A good breakfast for the crew, not a good day for the mice. 😉
Here, mom had just taken the latest catch from the dad and was getting ready to take it to the kiddos.
I think this little one was a bit surprised to have company early in the morning out in the middle of the Colorado plains. Two, minor county roads intersected the spot and it likely doesn’t get much traffic other than ranchers and perhaps someone like me looking for critters. A brief, early morning rain shower had dampened things and the owl’s feathers as well. The light was a bit dim as the sun was still rising and it was overcast making for a bit of a tough shot. Thankfully the Burrowing Owl stayed put just long enough for me to grab a few shots.
Well, these images were taken on Mother’s Day so I reckon perhaps in a way it is fitting that this pair was working on making babies. 😉 The pair was initially perched on two separate burrows. The female came flying in and that seemed to be all the invitation the male needed to initiate the intimacy.
With any luck, the pair was successful but it will be several weeks before any potential little ones make a public appearance.
Oddly enough, this seems to be – at least for me – a bit of a down year for Burrowing Owls. The majority of the usual spots where I have seen them in recent years have no activity or did once and have not since. It could just be a bit of bad luck / bad timing for me seeing them. But, in general, I am seeing far fewer pictures of them in my Colorado photo groups than what I would normal expect.