Male burrowing owl at recently vacated kit fox natal den
He even brought some kills back to the camera to show off his hunting prowess.
And, errr, eating prowess.
Burrowing owl chowing down on a small rodent
And then a female joined the fun.
Male (left) and female (right) burrowing owls at kit fox den
And by their behavior (already ignoring each other), they were likely starting a family of their own in the recently vacated kit fox natal den.
He'd bring her rodent presents...
"Hey baby - daddy has a tasty juvie Peromyscus for you..."
Checking her back for, um... yah... right...
He'd regurgitate food for her on-demand...
Checking to see if any of his friends are watching?
(btw - I'm glad us humans departed from this behavior)
And he defended her honor from the local thugs - ravens.
"Hey! Your protection payments are overdue!"
"Damn oversize crows..."
"What's all the fuss? Ravens again?"
"Don't worry about them honey - here, have a snack"
Unfortunately the cam trap didn't catch any photos of the owlets. It shot out - taking thousands of photos in just a couple of weeks, instead of months.
Looking at the photos in sequence shows why - the cam trap became loose on its mount/post, allowing it to wiggle in the Carrizo winds, simulating scene changes and causing false triggers.
However, looking only at the cam trap POV, the reason for the loosening isn't at all obvious. No big animal bumped it. Was it the relentless wind itself? Or the nut at the end of the wrench (aka, me)?
No, when I picked up the cam, the scene of the crime told the tale.
The culprit's "fingerprints" were plain to see.
Do camera traps bleed in white?
Note to self: next time, point a cam trap at the cam trap. And one at that cam too. And secure them all really, really well.
- Burrowing Owl Conservation Network - Burrowing Owl Facts
- Cornell Lab of Ornithology - All About Birds - Burrowing Owl
- Wikipedia - Burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia)
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - Carrizo Plain Triple Play
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - Morning with Mom
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - Kit Fox Family - Outtakes
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - Burrows are like Christmas
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - An Owl That's No Pussycat
- Natural Areas Journal, Vol 31, 2011 - David J. Germano, Department of Biology, California State University Bakersfield - The San Joaquin Desert of California: Ecologically Misunderstood and Overlooked