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Karen Carlsen, of Elgin Oregon, write "wish I could say taking these photo's of burrowing owls nesting on our ranch here is northeast Oregon wa a snap. It wasn't. But I couldn't think of a more entertaining way to spend my spare time.
I spent the next 3 months outdoors with a camera and telephoto lens in hand. Whenever, she would arrive , the 9 inch tall adults would stand long legged and shoulder to shoulder on a mound of soil just outside the den, welcoming me with their act of tough guy bravado. They'd glare at her with golden eyes and a beetle browned scowl, then bob bluster as I approached. They run. The female would slide silently into the darkness of the burrow while the male flew off without the clucking cackle of an outraged banty hen..
She was amazed at the team work from both parents
incubating the eggs for 3 weeks. First one, then the other would disappear
down the tunnel. The unoccupied bird stood like a sentry at the dens entrance.
Burrowing owls keep their brown and buff babies in the nest much longer than
most raptors. In early June, the first owlet peered curiously from the depths
of the dark. Sooner or later she knew the rest of the young owls would emerge
to bask in the sun's warmth. An hour spent in the company of burrowing owls
chicks is unforgettable. Cute, brazen and comical, the youngsters are downright
amusing. Their curiosity was unmatched. If sometimes seemed odd or
out of place, they'd turn their heads sideways, as if a cockeyed view would
improved their understanding.
If that didn't work, they'd simply lean until
they were in danger of tumbling over, And when they were startled, they'd
rush headlong into the burrow, only to see if the coast was clear. it was
impossible not to shake in silent laughter.
Feeding time , too, was hilarious and chaotic,
making for some exciting and challenging photo's. The action was fast. The
overworked parents would constantly come and go. The amount of food required
to raise nice owlets is enormous, each youngster can eats it weight in 24
hours. Returning to the den with a beetle or lizard, the adults were
mobbed and often overrun by their ravenous youngsters, as if they were playing
football in the back yard. By August, the young owls were pretty much
on their own.
Markings: White with brown feathered markings throughout body. Youngster
are much lighter usually the color of the burrow.
Behavior: Burrowing owls were lively subjects. Nine owls and their
parents provided months of animated photos.
Alarming sound. banting hen sound.
Key Facts: Sizes, Breeding, Lifestyle, and Related Species:
Length: 9 inch tall
Eggs: 8 - 10 eggs
Habitat: Homes dung into the ground. fairly deep to raise and protect their young.
Diet: Lizards, beetles, mice.
Some feathers for thought: