I’ve selected a few Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) images taken a few years ago to post today.
This juvenile Burrowing Owl posed very nicely in the light of the rising sun on Antelope Island State Park. I love those bright yellow eyes and the long rictal bristles surrounding the curved beak.
Adult western Burrowing Owls have paler plumage than the juveniles, lighter barring on the chest and always seem to me to be more serious looking than the juveniles who can at times appear to be quite clownish. I’ve heard them called the “Clowns of the western deserts”.
There used to be a burrow on Antelope Island State Park where Burrowing Owls could be seen and photographed frequently from the road but that appears to be no longer the case. Last year there was an incident involving a few photographers walking on top of the burrow that may have caused the burrow to be abandoned, or worse; they may have crushed the burrow while walking on it and killed an adult that may have been inside because after that incident I only ever saw one adult owl near it and it seemed in distress for several weeks as it sounded frequent alarm calls from the tops of Sagebrush near the burrow. More about that incident can be read here and here.
It is my dream to find more Burrowing Owls to photograph this year. They are beautiful, interesting and entertaining owls to observe and photograph.