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BAD Owls

05/21/2013

A few months ago I found some Burrowing Owls near a playground while there with my kids, it just seemed like an area that they would like.  Sure enough we took a quick walk and found 1 sitting across an arroyo from us.  I didn’t have any binoculars or my camera, but I knew what I was looking at.  We went back a few times, it’s a really neat playground with lots of grass, but there was always something in the way of taking photos of them.  Friends of mine had made the trip and had seen them though.  But tonight my daughter had a something going on in the area and so I seized the opportunity to try and get some photos.

And what luck I had.  We spotted one within minutes of getting out of the van and passing from the playground to the Black Arroyo Dam open space.

Burrowing Owl, Black Arroyo Dam, ABQ NM

Burrowing Owl, Black Arroyo Dam, ABQ NM

We wasted some minutes trying to find a way across the arroyo that would be easy with me carrying my son up in his backpack.  But we just ended up turning around and using a spot close to the burrow and risked bothering the owls.  But to my surprise we saw one sitting up on a shrub!  I’ve never seen a Burrowing Owl in such an exposed spot.

Burrowing Owl, Black Arroyo Dam, ABQ NM

Burrowing Owl, Black Arroyo Dam, ABQ NM

We were able to get really close and it never flew, even when my son was hooting and hollering away in the carrier.

Burrowing Owl, Black Arroyo Dam, ABQ NM

Burrowing Owl, Black Arroyo Dam, ABQ NM

And here’s what the area where the burrow is located looks like.  You can see the green grass of the playground and park in the background.

Arroyo and playground, Black Arroyo Dam, ABQ NM

Arroyo and playground, Black Arroyo Dam, ABQ NM

We were running late to get back and pick up my wife and daughter, so we headed back towards the van.  I took one last look back to the burrow and saw another owl peeking out.  I have no idea if this is another adult, or an older chick.  But the dark color says to me that it is pretty young.  And you can see that the lighter adult is wearing some bling on it’s ankle.

Burrowing Owls, Black Arroyo Dam, ABQ NM

Burrowing Owls, Black Arroyo Dam, ABQ NM

Now this is a fairly tight-cropped photo.  A rather disgusting (to us) habit of Burrowing Owls is to bring feces of other animals to their burrow entrances.  This is to attract beetles, thus giving them a ready and easy food source.  Which ends up being pretty smart.  And most birds have terrible senses of smell anyway.  But I’m posting the wider version below with a warning: It is really gross to look at, but a matter of reality.

Burrowing Owls, Black Arroyo Dam, ABQ NM

Burrowing Owls, Black Arroyo Dam, ABQ NM

You can clearly see the large collection of dung by the burrow.  Hopefully it is doing it’s job and they are going to have a nice beetle ranch going on.

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

(and no, I have no idea what that box is doing down here, or how to get rid of it)

 
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From → birding

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