Winter Burrowing Owls on Antelope Island

Back lit Burrowing Owl in winterBack lit Burrowing Owl in winter

Earlier this week I published a post about Burrowing Owls and said:

It won’t be long before spring migration and the birds that come to the Great Basin to breed will arrive in great numbers, among those spring migrants that I most look forward to seeing are the Western Burrowing Owls.

Well, yesterday on Antelope Island I spotted an adult Burrowing Owl back lit by the morning sun near one of the man made burrows on the island. The photo is cruddy but I enjoyed seeing this little owl. It was the first of the winter Burrowing Owls I was to find yesterday while on Antelope Island State Park.

An adult Burrowing Owl at its burrow in winterAn adult Burrowing Owl at its burrow in winter

I spotted another adult Burrowing Owl just outside of its burrow less than an hour later, it was all scrunched down and didn’t open its eyes except for the tiniest sliver. The owl looked cold and it was cold.

I’ve seen other Burrowing Owls in winter months here but I hadn’t seen any of them since November so I was excited to find these two.

A pair of juvenile Burrowing Owls on an old fenceA pair of juvenile Burrowing Owls on an old fence

Seeing them reminded me of how much fun these owls can be to photograph, especially the juveniles. They are so very photogenic, funny and animated.

A Burrowing Owl family at its burrowA Burrowing Owl family at its burrow

Burrowing Owl juveniles seem so curious about their surroundings and that extends to the people who are watching them. That is until one of the adults brings in food and then they are all about filling their belly and keeping their siblings away from their meal!

A pair of juvenile Burrowing Owls enjoying the morning lightA pair of juvenile Burrowing Owls enjoying the morning light

It will be months before I see young Burrowing Owls but finding the two adults yesterday brought a huge smile to my face and brightened up my winter day.

Life is good.



  1. Utahbooklover January 22, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    I was thinking the same thing as Glen. And when the insects return, there are usually so many mouths to feed. Amazing little owls. I enjoyed all the images. Thanks Mia.

  2. Glen Fox January 22, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Since this species is predominantly insectivorous, I’m amazed they migrate back to Utah so early. Must be really thin pickings and great competition for rodents. Amazing little birds, wink!

  3. Greg Norrell January 22, 2016 at 9:55 am

    Love the juvie owl shots. Stopped by looking for updates on Farmington Bay eagles for 2016. Will keep an eye on your site in case there’s a show this year.

  4. Patty Chadwick January 22, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Wonderful shots! These birds are so cute and funny…like the rear view(looks like a rock), the threesome (with one peeking out of the burrow), and the “twofers”… They make my day…always make me laugh!

  5. Cindy January 22, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Perfectly blended into their environment. Love their eyes. Thank you Mia for sharing your knowledge and talents.

  6. Stu January 22, 2016 at 7:18 am

    I will forever associate these with you and your photography./ Great set of photos. I always feel sorry for them out there in the cold 😉

  7. Bob McPherson January 22, 2016 at 6:49 am

    Gorgeous photos Mia. Look forward to seeing more of your owls.

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