No birding trip to southwest Florida would be complete without seeing the burrowing owls of Cape Coral. The weather in the afternoon looked threatening and the sky turned dark for a while but in the end it proved to be a wonderful afternoon. We had a little motorcade winding through the streets in search of nest sites. I still think Jack made a few wrong turns but eventually we came upon a nest with a few cooperative owls on them.
Per the Florida Fish and Wildlife website ““The burrowing owl is a pint-sized bird that lives in open, treeless areas. The burrowing owl spends most of its time on the ground, where its sandy brown plumage provides camouflage from potential predators. One of Florida's smallest owls, it averages nine inches in height with a wingspan of 21 inches. The burrowing owl lacks the ear tufts of the more familiar woodland owls. Bright yellow eyes and a white chin accent the face. Unusually long legs provide additional height for a better view from its typical ground-level perch.”
There were eight of us photographers who took turns under the direction of our instructor, Mr. Jack Rodgers, getting into position for optimum photographs of these wide eyed feathered friends. Some locals asked if we were filming a documentary. We stopped at several sites. The last nest we visited was outstanding. There was a large family of about seven fledgling owlets and one of the adults by a large nest mound with several burrows. After taking one look at us one of the fledglings was so frightened it tried to get on the parents perch for protection. Once they saw we meant no harm they calmed downed and we got some excellent photo opportunities.
Who can look into those bright yellow eyes and not be amused? The comical looks the fledgling owlets gave us was indeed a sight to behold. I could almost hear them whisper to each other..who dat funny looking one with the great big camera? All I can says is my doohickey sure got a work out. Hope you enjoy the owls as much as I did. Be Blessed. Harry