In South Florida, once late April arrives, so do several things … the heat, the humidity, the mosquitoes – which for me are never a welcome addition. However, it also signals another change … the pending arrival of the burrowing owl babies! So, beginning in mid-April, I began regular visits to the burrows.
At first, we simply see the parents-to-be, as they go about the final preparations for their impending arrivals.
Once the baby owls are hatched, which can happen over a period of time, we begin to see only the dad, since the mom is busy in the burrow taking care of her new hatchlings.
By the end of April, we get some of the first glimpses of the baby owls. They are absolutely adorable and each has its own looks and personality right from the get-go.
To me, there’s nothing like the first glimpses of the babies, as they are so timid and quite curious about this great big world outside of their burrow. It reminds me so much of when our own young began to explore their own world. Everything is new, everything is exciting, and they are quite cautious of certain things.
Besides taking care of the young, the parent owls must also take care of their burrow – making sure that the opening is secure and clearing out unwanted items. Often, the parents will enter the entrance of the burrow and dig in the sand, effectively throwing it up onto the babies waiting above. It’s quite comical to watch as they appear to take it on the chin, the eyes, head, etc.
The parents also have to take care of nourishing themselves and their young. They will venture outside of their roped burrows to grab a quick bite and often bring some home for the others.
Burrowing owls will digest what they can or need to, then over time, they cough up a pellet consisting of the undigested remnants of their diet. Yum! LOL
Burrowing owl parents are quite the protective breed. See, these owls make their burrows and raise their young in what is essentially a sports park @ Brian Piccolo Park in Cooper City, Florida. Every day, many humans inhabit their environment, which is a mixed bag of feelings for me. See, it’s nice that the public can view them and learn from them and about them, but some don’t understand how their actions can affect these wonderful creatures. They’re also protected by law, though some humans (hopefully unintentionally) seem not to understand that. All that being said, the benefit to the owls is that they are a bit protected from their predators, such as the various types of hawks that fly overhead looking for an easy meal.
Yes, either way, these burrowing owl parents are amazing parents – very loving, very patient, very protective and attentive, and very strict with their warnings and disciplines. See, it’s for their young’s own good … and perhaps some human parents could learn a thing or two from them… hey, just sayin’.
I waited for a few months to blog about these owls, to do an entire blog on their developments and antics along the way, but that just can’t be done in one blog. So for the next 3 blogs, I will continue my Burrowing Owl Encounters blog, so check back weekly.
Hope that you enjoyed meeting the objects of my affection so far. 🙂