It was getting a bit toasty when we took our lunch in the shade of a juniper.
That's when we noticed the bunny tail, a gopher skull and a weathered owl pellet.
Craig's comment: this is a winter roost for long-eared owls.
When we walked up the draw a large bird flushed from one of the junipers.
The flushed bird was a loner, but according to Craig these junipers were the winter roosting area.
We caught a better glimpse of the owl a few minutes later.
It was a straggler that decided to hang around, and it might have nested in the area.
Judging from the number of rodent skulls on the ground long-ears must be thick here in the winter, and I recalled Bill Schmoker's fascinating documentation of a similar roost in Colorado.
We set our camera under a juniper in the heart of the owl roost.
Seeing the active roost this winter will be a special treat.
When ever my son made a new friend, we'd take them hunting for owl pellets. We knew anyone whose mom let them go out again with us was definitely a friend worth keeping.
That's cool. I've always regarded them as a treasure of sorts.
Treasures they are for they tell a story of a bird well adapted to catch a rodent that can "catapult 6 feet" in every direction. Impressive birds they!
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