This is my last post on my Burrowing Owl nest-watching this spring. I was so lucky to get to monitor the growth of a family of five (reduced to four) Burrowing Owls. On my last visit, they waved goodbye and flew off…
The oldest two babies were pretty proficient fliers. They flew off pretty early in the morning, and I think they were hunting for their own food. Mom and Dad certainly didn’t bring them anything that I saw.
The smaller two babies were less confident with their new-found wings. There was a bush near the burrow that clearly was the flight training ground. The little guys flew up and down and practiced balance and sticking their landings! (Sounds like gymnastics!)
Mom brought in a big frog for one of the little guys. He had to work hard to get it down! He stood there like a baby shorebird, with the frog in his throat, panting and gaping while he worked up the energy for the fatal gulp.
This owlet was learning to hunt. I laughed when I saw him grabbing at the dead frog that was left on a nearby wire fence. The frog had been there for at least a week, and it was hard and dry and well, gross. But I guess the owl didn’t think so! I wonder if he was disappointed to find that his meal was already dead? Or maybe Mom and Dad put the frog there to encourage the babies to fly and practice their hunting skills?
By the end of the morning, all the owlets had left the burrow. I completely lost sight of them for a while, but the two youngest kept coming back. I finally got my shot of an owl perched on some cactus bushes that grow out in the grassy fields. This guy cracked me up when he perched on a tall branch. I’ve watched his parents sit there for weeks on end, and now the babies are big enough to get up there too!
Flying is hard work! It’s a good thing these babies weren’t yet too big to cuddle together and sleep!
I really enjoyed the opportunity to observe the Burrowing Owls this spring. I hope you’ve enjoyed my adventures through my blog, too!
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