“Back off, dog!”
Normally burrowing owls and prairie dogs live harmoniously in the same community. It is a symbiotic relationship with the owls nesting in abandoned prairie dog burrows and the two species sharing watch duty for threats. However, sometimes the neighbors can get a bit too close for comfort.
This past weekend I spent a morning watching a burrowing owl family with five owlets. One of the little ones did not appreciate the neighbors one bit and he did his best to appear big and mean to scare the prairie dogs off when they wandered too close.
It was so darned funny to watch the little dude (or dudette) act tough. The hunkering down and raising wings like this is a common thing that owls do in the face of a threat. It is a way to make themselves bigger and ideally ward off any bad guys.