Burrowing owl makes a rocky home in Austin - Digging

January 29, 2020

I'm still hoping that a screech owl will move into our owl box this winter. Meanwhile, I got my owl fix yesterday with a different kind of bird --- a burrowing owl, which I understand is rarely seen in Central Texas. Burrowing owls prefer West Texas and the Panhandle, where they nest in abandoned prairie dog tunnels. And yet somehow one has taken up residence in a pile of boulders in a field slated for development in East Austin.

He or she stands vigil each day on the rock pile, perhaps keeping an eye out for insects, lizards, or small rodents. Burrowing owls are one of the few owl species that's active by night andday.

Burrowing owls stand only about 10 inches tall. Though she be but little, she is fierce (with a nod to Shakespeare).

Yellow feet match yellow eyes. Brown feathers speckled with white help it camouflage among the rocks.

With a head that seems to turn all the way around and big, solemn eyes, owls are fun to watch. I hope this one stays safe in the construction zone it's moved into and wonder if it'll head west to its preferred desert or grassland before they rev up the bulldozers again.

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