Burrowing Owls – Most of the Family

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I’m taking a break today from posting photos of my recent trip to southwestern Montana to share an image of a Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) family from here in Utah that I created a few days ago.

Burrowing Owl familyBurrowing Owl family – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 235mm, natural light, not baited

I should mention that not all of the birds from this family are shown in this frame, there are possibly 4 more owlets that aren’t perched on the sagebrush with the rest of the birds. I’d sure love an image where all of them were present.

I shouldn’t anthropomorphize but I can’t help but compare this image to some of the family portraits I have seen of my family and other families.

Juvenile Burrowing Owl on the far left: “Ok, I’m here, standing straight and giving you my best side. Take the photo already!”

Juvenile Burrowing Owl, 2nd from left: “I hate having my photo taken, I’m a little shy so I will hide”.

Adult Burrowing Owl, 3rd from left: “Where the heck are the other 4 kids?”

Juvenile Burrowing Owl, 4th from left: “I’m the clown of the family!”

Adult Burrowing Owl, 5th from left: “Junior, stop being a clown and smile for the camera”.

Juvenile Burrowing Owl, 6th from the left: “Wait, I have got something in front of my eye!!”.

I remember how challenging it was for my mom to get us all in the picture, to have us all looking at the camera, how my brother was always making silly faces and then the flash blinding us all. Those memories makes me laugh now.

I had to zoom back to 235mm to fit all of the owls into the frame.



  1. Julie Brown August 3, 2012 at 4:18 am

    So very cute-there must be more than one generation of owlets in this group? Good job getting them all in focus too!

    • Mia McPherson August 4, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      Thank you Julie. There are just the adults and this years chicks in this image. Burrowing Owls are just so much fun to photograph.

  2. Larry Jordan August 1, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    I can’t tell you how much I love this shot Mia! Perched atop sagebrush no less! Nice to hear that they produced 8 health owlets too 😀

    • Mia McPherson August 2, 2012 at 4:39 pm

      I’m glad you love the shot Larry, I sure loved your recent post on Burrowing Owls too. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Matt Finch July 31, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    sigh….am I the only one in the world who hasn’t found these birds on that island?

    • Mia McPherson August 1, 2012 at 6:15 pm

      I don’t think you are the only one who has not spotted the owls on the island, they [b][i]are[/b][/i] tiny.

  4. Susan July 28, 2012 at 4:36 pm


  5. zephyr July 28, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    i love this image–and the dialogue you created for it. Made me chuckle

  6. Tammy Karr July 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Great family portrait Mia! It is pretty hilarious how they all have different expressions going on. That is one large family, especially if 4 are missing!

    • Mia McPherson August 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm

      Tammy, some of the Burrowing Owl families are huge. And because they are so much fun, the more… the merrier. Thanks for your comment.

  7. Laurence Butler July 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Nothing more adorable than a whole family portrait of these birds! Thanks for brightening my day Mia.

    • Mia McPherson August 1, 2012 at 5:33 pm

      Tis a pleasure to brighten your day Laurence!

  8. Nicole July 28, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Fabulous photos!! Captions are funny too!! Thanks so much…

  9. Earl July 28, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Great shot.
    Fun birds

    • Mia McPherson August 1, 2012 at 5:32 pm

      Thank you Earl, they are fun birds!

  10. Stu July 28, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Funny! Great image color and captions. ~An Erudite Opticians Day Out 😉

  11. Carol Mattingly July 28, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Mia they are surely amazing are they not. The one in the middle looks like he’s giving you a wink. As always the soft color, love it. Carol

    • Mia McPherson August 1, 2012 at 5:31 pm

      Thanks Carol, it does look like the one owl is winking at me.

  12. judy watson July 28, 2012 at 7:53 am


    • Mia McPherson August 1, 2012 at 5:30 pm

      Wow is right Judy, sure wish I could have had the whole family up there!

  13. Bob Zeller July 28, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Great post and photo, Mia. I enjoyed it and your sense of humor. 🙂

    • Mia McPherson July 28, 2012 at 7:50 am

      Thanks Bob, the cast of characters in this image made it too difficult to pass up being funny! 🙂

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