Sleepy Male Burrowing Owl

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Sleepy looking Burrowing Owl maleSleepy looking Burrowing Owl male – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Both times I photographed this male Burrowing Owl yesterday morning he looked very sleepy, he may be worn out from helping to raise a passel of chicks. I have not seen a burrow or chicks near where this adult male owl hangs out but another burrow in the area has at least nine chicks and Burrowing Owls can have as many as twelve chicks to a brood. I know that raising that many chicks would have me all worn out trying to feed them!

This photo shows the eyes as far open as I saw them the two separate times I photographed him and in it they weren’t open much at all. But I liked the colors of the silvery green sagebrush and the dried grasses in the background so I photographed him even though I would have liked to have seen more of his lemon-yellow eyes.

Sleepy adult Burrowing Owl maleSleepy adult Burrowing Owl male – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 250, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I’ve been feeling sleepy myself lately because of how long the days are during summer and how early I have been getting up to go out photographing in the morning. My alarm is set for 3:15 a.m. so that I have time to finish up my daily posts before heading out the door in the darkness to get to where I plan to photograph birds at sunrise when the light is golden. I think I might be a little addicted to photographing birds.

Life is good.



  1. Pepe Forte June 27, 2017 at 12:45 am

    Yawn…it’s nearly midnight here in San Diego and your little guy is telling me it’s time to hit the sack. Love the detail you captured and the muted background is perfect. Great pics Mia…Thanks.

  2. Elephants Child June 26, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Twelve chicks? Any bird (or beast) trying to raise that many babies deserves all the sleep it can get.

  3. M Bear June 26, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    It was worth getting up early, that is for sure! Love this little guy!

  4. April Olson June 26, 2017 at 10:49 am

    I don’t know how you and Ron consistently get up so early. I tend to be a night owl, the days I get up early to go north to photograph I am lucky to get out the door by 5:30. The parent is looking a bit worn, I remember that feeling when I had very young children, maybe I needed a post to chill out on too.

    • Mia McPherson June 26, 2017 at 11:16 am

      April, when my boys were tiny I thought it was rough but it wasn’t until the few years before they left the “nest” that I realized how much tougher those years would be. Coffee, my garden and nature got me through them “fledging”.

      I’ve always been an early riser but 3:15 am is beginning to wear on me.

  5. Bob mcphersons June 26, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Beautiful photos, miA.

  6. Liz Cormack June 26, 2017 at 5:54 am

    I am out with my camera at sunrise so I know what you mean about the long days. I love these photos. Maybe the Burrowing Owl is far enough away from the burrow for peace & quiet……and a snooze.

    • Mia McPherson June 26, 2017 at 6:33 am

      Thanks Liz. I have also wondered if the adults move away from the burrows to get a little peace and quiet.

  7. suzanne Mcdougal June 26, 2017 at 5:31 am

    I love these shots.I especially love the talons. You are very dedicated to your craft to get up at 3:15, but that is one thing that sets your photography (and Ron’s) apart from other bird photography I see.

    .I saw a burrow with eight on Friday. But I’m so sad that they are ripping out all those great wood fence posts and putting in the ugly metal ones with more barbed wire.. Have a great week.

    • Mia McPherson June 26, 2017 at 6:32 am

      Suzanne, thanks.

      I hate those new ugly metal posts and will miss the old wooden ones. Those neon green tops are an assault on our eyes!

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