Natural History

Burrowing Owl

posted: 05/11/13
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BURROWING OWL, Badlands National Park and Conata Basin, South Dakota | Photo Caption: Excerpted from North America: A World In One Continent by Huw Cordey | ARKive Animal Profile: Burrowing Owl
Jeff Foott/DCL

These amazing little owls that fly to the plains from Mexico often take over disused prairie dog burrows. We found a mother and father with four young, and these four were learning to fly, running through the grass and flapping their wings before lifting off the ground for a second or two and then, more often than not, landing back on one another's heads.

The male owl, a gorgeous specimen, would go off hunting for food for the whole family while the female, who looked a little worse for wear and whose hooked beak reminded us of Gonzo from the Muppets, watched the chicks. The cooperation and care these owl parents showed their young was touching. Unlike many other birds of prey, there was no weakling who was ignored or pushed out. The four chicks were fed strictly in turn and all got the same amounts of food.

EXPLORE THE GREAT PLAINS: American Bison | Prairie Dog | Red Fox | Ferruginous Hawk | Pronghorn | Jumping Spider | Bobcat | Prairie Chicken | Burrowing Owl | Pocket Gopher | Snow Goose | All North American Animals

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