Saturday, January 23, 2010
Athene cunicularia hypugaea, Western Burrowing Owl, Tijuana Slough Preserve, California. This little own is under extensive pressure throughout its range in California, especially on the coast where housing development has eliminated much of its habitat. This particular owl is living in the lawn of a local military airbase where they have graciously posted sign posts to warn off would be lawn mowers and vehicles from their burrows. That helps us photo-bugs figure out where to snap pictures. As the airbase is fenced in,however, this is the best picture I was able to snap. Ironically, I shot the picture of the base of the sign from perhaps over 150 feet away with a 500 mm lens. It was so far away, I didn't even see the owl until I was able to review the picture on the computer. Ironic or perhaps serendipitous.
These owls range from Southern Canada south through Central America. They typically reside in old ground squirrel holes and live on small rodents, lizards, grasshopers, crickets, prickly pear fruit and miscellaneous small prey.