This birding season, early 2014, the Burrowing Owl sightings and photographs have been spectacular!
One of the main Owl locations is Vista View park in southwest Broward County, Florida. In early May I had an opportunity to visit Vista View park, a Broward County park, reclaimed dump, to see and photograph one of the smallest Owl species the Burrowing Owl.
These Owls are native to this part of South Florida. The mascot of FAU, Florida Atlantic University, in Boca Raton, is the Burrowing Owl because, at one time, there were so many Owl holes in the landscape that local herders lost cattle because they would fall into a nest, injuring themselves.
These Owls actually dig holes in the dirt, much like a den, and they nest underground.
Parents protect the nest by spreading across the hole, acting like an umbrella blocking the view of over flying predators.
Some Chicks are brave enough to peek out into the big bad world.
Some parents fly to nearby trees to scope out the view and to overwatch the chicks in the nest just below.
Even though the size of the bird is not intimidating, the tenacity and potential ferocity they show, more than compensates for their diminutive size.
The talons that can dispatch small rodents with a single slice is attached to powerful feet and legs that can inflict immediate pain and death on any creature trying to injure their chicks.
Burrowing Owl chicks who wonder off early in life virtually disappear into the surrounding vegetation. Their coloring is so much like that of the background that only their big, bright, yellow eyes can be seen without careful inspection,
… while ever watchful parents keep an eye on the sky for swooping predators.
Or they watch the ground for 4 legged predators.
The Burrowing Owls are magnificent, fun to watch, and simple to photograph.
Even though the mating season is over for this year there are still a few Owls to be seen at Vista View Park, Davie Florida, and other areas throughout South Florida.
Find them before they find you.