Brian Piccolo Park

Brian Piccolo Park is a an athletic park outside of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is known to wildlife photographers for the Burrowing Owls that nest in the grassy fields. The nests are blocked off for protection, and the birds are pretty tame. You can settle down with a camera at owl-eye level and photograph all sorts of fun behaviors with these comical owls. Nesting season is typically during the months of May and June.

Photography Advice

Long lenses and intermediate telephotos are both good here. Don't leave your cameras or your laptop in the car.

Website

http://www.broward.org/Parks/BrianPiccoloPark/Pages/Default.aspx

Brian Piccolo Park Blog Archives

  • More Burrowing Owls from Brian Piccolo Park

    More Burrowing Owls from Brian Piccolo Park

    It’s time for round two on Burrowing Owls from Brian Piccolo Park! My last adventure was an evening shoot at a great nest with six babies.  I went back to the same burrow the next morning.  The owlets were nowhere near as active.  I set up my Beast on my tripod and lowered it as much as possible to get some portraits.  Getting low threw the entire area of grass and trees out of focus and gave me a pretty green background. The owlets were doing a lot of wing stretches.  They seemed to all be flying, at least small hops to the posts of their roped-off nest area.  The guy above reminds me of a ballerina pointing his toe as he stretches his wing. OK, I have to share what goes through my head when I see the image above.  You know the movie Legally Blonde?  The scene where Elle does the bend and snap?  Well, the owls are doing the “bend and stretch!”  I was pleased to be low to the ground to get a birds-eye view of this silly-looking movement. I guess the owlet above finished all his wing-ercising.  He flew to the top of the post …
  • Flight Lessons for the Burrowing Owls at Brian Piccolo Park

    Flight Lessons for the Burrowing Owls at Brian Piccolo Park

    I had two photo ops with the Burrowing Owls at Brian Piccolo Park on my recent trip to South Florida. One was an afternoon shoot, and the other was the next morning. You might ask why I drive over four hours to see a couple of owls. Well, maybe this will answer the question… There are some really photographable nests at Brian Piccolo Park! The park ropes off the nests to protect the birds from the many people who pass by every day. This means that the birds are used to people, and they don’t mind the silly photographers who sit for hours watching their every move. This year my favorite nest had six babies. That’s a lot of little guys to fit down in the hole in the ground! When I first arrived, only the oldest was outside the burrow. Gradually the rest of his brothers and sisters joined him. My friend Debbie lives close to Brian Piccolo, and she kept me informed of when the babies hatched.  I didn’t get down there as quickly as I had hoped.  I’d love to see the tiny babies when they first come out of the burrow, when they are about two …
  • Burrowing Owls at Brian Piccolo Park

    Burrowing Owls at Brian Piccolo Park

    I made it to Brian Piccolo Park this year after all!  When Rich and I went to West Palm Beach to visit the turtles, we planned to also visit Butterfly World.  I’ve been wanting to visit the free-flight hummingbirds there ever since I saw Jamie’s incredible photo of the butterfly landing on a hummer’s head.  Unfortunately, the rain started to pour just as we reached the exit for Butterfly World.  So instead I told Rich to keep driving south, and we ended up at Brian Piccolo.  There are still some active Burrowing Owls there.  The park protects the nests by putting up a roped area around the burrow.  That also makes the burrows very easy to find!  I spent a very happy couple of hours watching these fun birds before it was time to head back to Juno for our turtle walk. These fun little owls make their nests in burrows in the ground.  They are much smaller birds than most owls, about the size of an American Robin.  When we first arrived, it was still mid-day and the afternoon heat was fairly bad.  All the little owls were in their burrows, and I could just see their heads as …