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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Burrowing owl at the badger dig

































On November 1st at 6:43 AM the burrowing owl made its only appearance -- ten days after we set the camera.

It immediately crept down into the burrow entrance where the camera captured images of its speckled interscapular and wing feathers.



Perhaps this assured the bird that nothing predacious was lurking below, because it spent the next 10 minutes above ground posing for pictures.



In my undergrad years I  was quite taken with burrowing owls.

Their table scraps -- pellets, kangaroo rat legs,  and rodent skulls -- decorated the dashboard of my car,  mementos of good trips to the charming desolation of San Benito County.



According to Hans Peeter's book, Field Guide to Owls of California and the West (UC Press) burrowing owls decorate their nests and burrow entrances with chunks of cow flops and road apples.

Another endearing trait.

We'll be on the lookout for breeding burrowing owls in the spring.




8 comments:

Owlman said...

Outstanding and more evidence that they utilize Badger digs as well as other fossorial mammal burrows.
You're good!

Tami said...

Oh what a beauty!

Patapsco Mike said...

How is it that the same solitary mouse is in the same pose (to the right of the burrow) in all the pictures of this set as well as all the pictures of the fighting mice? Did I miss the part where you put a decoy mouse in the set.

randomtruth said...

Burrowing owls are soo cool. Surprised we didn't see him pop out of the hole with a pocket mouse!

P. Mike - that's a piece of rock/leaf and straw - not a mouse - when we first got the pics we thought it was a mouse too!

Camera Trap Codger said...

Mike, I had the same reaction to that rock, or whatever it is. Then I realized it was inanimate.

brdpics said...

Magnus!

Patapsco Mike said...

Gotcha. Wow, that thing bears an amazing resemblance to a small mouse. The tail proportion is good, there is a hint of ears and a forelimb, and even an eye spot. Just goes to show you can only trust your eyes so much...

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