As winter begins to lose its grasp on northern Utah I have begun to look for Burrowing Owls in locations where I have seen them before. I know that there are a few hardy Burrowing Owls that hung around this winter but the ones that migrate will be arriving soon and I’ll spot them warming up in the sun in the morning near old burrows or perched on top of sagebrush, rocks or fence posts.
I’m drawn to and fascinated by these western desert Burrowing Owls because they are beautiful, interesting and animated subjects. And they are pretty darn cute!
And who can resist those lemon yellow eyes?
My first experience with photographing Burrowing Owls was in Florida when my friend and fellow bird photographer, Al Wallace shared some with me in Sarasota County and I believe that was the day my fascination with these owls began. When I moved from Florida to Utah the fascination grew stronger because I could photograph them more often.
I’ve never counted how many Burrowing Owls I spot during their time here in northern Utah but I can tell you that it is an abundance. Some years they are harder to photograph because they use burrows that are far from the road and then there are years when they use burrows so close to the roads I worry about their safety.
(I always stay inside a vehicle using it as a mobile blind to photograph the owls, it stresses them less than people tromping around on foot.)
From one year to the next I never know if it will be a good year for photographing these small owls but whether I photograph them or not I always get excited when I spot them outside of their burrows. Always!
I’ll probably never get over my fascination with these owls and honestly I really don’t want to.
Life is good.