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I mentioned recently that I’ve been accumulating images of Burrowing Owls this summer. These little owls seem to have taken advantage of favorable conditions for breeding. I see families of owls in numerous locations in the local farmlands. I can’t resist photographing them, they are among the most photogenic of the subjects that I regularly observe.
Burrowing Owls sometimes seem to be trying to be cute and/or comical. It’s wrong to attribute certain attitudes and personalities to these birds: the owls are just being owls, and they have no idea what impression they’re making on us humans. Nevertheless, their behaviors can be amusing even if unintentionally so.
I smile whenever I view this first image.. Perhaps it’s because the pair of owls in the image have taken advantage of their perch without having the slightest knowledge of what they are perching on (the sluice gate of an irrigation canal). Or, perhaps it’s the unusual juxtaposition of the birds with the sharp angles of a man-made object. In some ways the owls’ posture fits perfectly, albeit unintentionally, with the geometry of the gate.
In this second image the owl appears to be playing king of the hill. Its “hill” is a pile of discarded sod on the premises of a turf farm, not something particularly regal, but the owl seems to be proud nonetheless. In fact, it may simply be seeking a way to mitigate the desert’s heat. It has spread its wings in order to allow some air to circulate beneath them and it may be that standing on an elevated platform allows it to escape the hot air rising from the flat turf at the base of the “hill.”
Finally, there’s this individual, seemingly threatening me with a baleful stare. In fact, Burrowing Owls are timid birds that are distinctly non-threatening. Still, if looks could kill . . . .
Images made with a Canon R5, Canon EF 400mm f4 DO II lens+Canon EF 1.4x telextender, M setting (auto ISO). First image, ISO 1000, f5.6 @ 1/4000, +1 1/3 stops exposure compensation. Second and third images, ISO 1000, f5.6 @ 1/3200, +1 1/3 stops exposure compensation.