Juvenile Burrowing Owls – Friday Photos

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Juvenile Burrowing Owl stretching Juvenile Burrowing Owl stretching – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 200, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 360mm, natural light, not baited

I adore Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia), especially the juveniles because they can be funny, serious looking, comical and at times they act like clowns. This is a fairly young juvenile because it is just beginning to get the barring pattern on the chest. The green background is sagebrush and the grayish color is from the mudflats of the Great Salt Lake.

A pair of juvenile Burrowing Owls A pair of juvenile Burrowing Owls – Nikon D200, f10, 1/160, ISO 250, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

The juvenile Burrowing Owls above are from the same burrow as the first image I posted but they are older as shown by more barring on the chest. Juvenile Burrowing Owls are great to observe and photograph, they seem to be very curious about the world and they take it all in with those large lemony yellow eyes. The young owl on the left side of the frame is parallaxing while it checks me out. I love how far these birds can turn their heads.

Three young Burrowing Owls Three young Burrowing Owls – Nikon d200, f7.1, 1/320, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

When there are numerous young in the same burrow there is a lot of interaction between the siblings including grooming each other. The two owls on the left had been grooming each other while the bird on the right just seemed to be paying close attention to what the other two were doing. This burrow had four chicks but I was never able to get all four in the same frame.

 A fun juvenile Burrowing Owl wing lift A fun Burrowing Owl wing lift – Nikon D200, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 250, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

I have included this last image despite the lack of eye contact because it is such a fun pose. Juvenile Burrowing Owls do stretch and groom a lot, I guess that is all part of “Growing Up Owl”.  I’m just glad I get to see and photograph Burrowing Owls.


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  1. Jim Hackley December 5, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    They certainly to give some of the best looks of any birds I have seen, wonderful images, way go.

    • Mia McPherson December 6, 2011 at 7:44 am

      I think Burrowing Owls are so cute Jim, especially the juveniles who seem to be more animated than the adults.

  2. Chuck Gangas November 28, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Fun, whimsical, and totally enjoyable. Lovely images and a great post Mia.

    • Mia McPherson December 1, 2011 at 6:40 am

      Thanks Chuck, juvie Burrowing Owls are one of my favorite subjects because they are so cute!

  3. Denis November 26, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Beautifull shot

  4. Bob Zeller November 26, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Golly, what wonderful photos. I especially like the second one of the owl tilting his/hers head to the side. Priceless. I haven’t had a good opportunity to photograph any of these. There are very few of these species around here. Fantastic work, Mia.

    • Mia McPherson November 26, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      Bob, you are so kind. The owl you mentioned in the second image is parallaxing, it is so cool to watch them do that. I hope you find some of these beautiful little owls to photograph. They aren’t much bigger than an American Robin, of course they have a much longer wingspan.

  5. Dan Huber November 26, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Wonderful images Mia – I hope to see some one day.


    • Mia McPherson November 26, 2011 at 2:59 pm

      Dan, I hope you get to see some Burrowing Owls soon, they are awesome subjects to photograph. Thank you for your very kind words.

  6. Stu November 25, 2011 at 9:14 pm


    • Mia McPherson November 26, 2011 at 5:42 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post Stu!

  7. Robert November 25, 2011 at 7:00 pm


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