My New Found Friends – Burrowing Owls

Are you looking for the burrowing owl blog?   Yep, you're in the right place!

Are you looking for the burrowing owl blog?
Yep, you’re in the right place!

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.

Expecting the new arrivals

Expecting the new arrivals

At first, we simply see the parents-to-be, as they go about the final preparations for their impending arrivals.

Parents share the watch of the burrow

Parents share the watch of the burrow

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.

One of the burrowing owls parents stand guard and protects its family and burrow

One of the burrowing owls parents stand guard and protects its family and burrow

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.

The very first glimpse this year of the new baby burrowing owls

The very first glimpse this year of the new baby burrowing owls

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.

Two very young siblings take a look at their newfound world.

Two very young siblings take a look at their newfound world.

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.

How Rude! Parent digs out burrow and tosses the sand onto its young

How Rude!
Parent digs out burrow and tosses the sand onto its young

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.

Crickets, anyone?

Crickets, anyone?

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

Regurgitated pellet just after expelling - must feel better now  :-)

Regurgitated pellet just after expelling – must feel better now 🙂

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.

Adult burrowing owl stands guard

Adult burrowing owl stands guard

On alert .... Look, up in the sky, it's a bird, no a plane, .... no it's a bird .... an enemy hawk specifically! With one alert "bark", the entire family quickly retreats to the confines of the burrow.

On alert …. Look, up in the sky, it’s a bird, no a plane, …. no it’s a bird …. an enemy hawk specifically!
With one alert “bark”, the entire family quickly retreats to the confines of the burrow.

Look out ... One of the many hawks soaring above their burrows

Look out … One of the many hawks soaring above their burrows

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’.

Parent & Child - a special bond for sure

Parent & Child – a special bond for sure

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.

Owlet wing stretch ... feels good! Note:  This particular baby had such dark eyes, not bright yellow like his brothers & sisters.

Owlet wing stretch … feels good!
Note: This particular baby had such dark eyes, not bright yellow like his brothers & sisters.

Hope that you enjoyed meeting the objects of my affection so far.  🙂

3 of the first 5 baby burrowing owls that we spotted in 2013

3 of the first 5 baby burrowing owls that we spotted in 2013

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “My New Found Friends – Burrowing Owls

  1. So loved reading your wonderful observations of the owls….such adorable and interesting creatures! The photos are amazing….it’s so much fun to see how they change and see the subtle differences in their appearance. Really awesome work on your blog, Debbie…..love it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s