Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 09/13/2014

Photo taken on August 28, 2014

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Anne Elliott
Burrowing Owl
SE of Calgary
side/front view
NE of Waterton
Waterton Lakes trip
in the field stubble
Athene cunicularia
bird of prey
on the ground

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Young Burrowing Owl

Young Burrowing Owl
There are 38 images in my Burrowing Owl album, but this photo shows one of the two first and only Burrowing Owls that I have ever been fortunate enough to see in the wild. To say that it was a thrill is an understatement! These endangered owls are tiny and so difficult to see, especially when they are down in the grasses, or in this case, against the stubble in the field. They are a true delight when, or if, they are seen on a fence post, so that the whole of the bird can be seen, not just a pair of bright yellow eyes peering out between the blades of grass. We saw two different individuals, possibly three, one of them this juvenile. Most of the time, though, they were mainly hidden in the grass, so most of my photos tend to be of "eyes". Such a great pity that this is an endangered species!

"As a result of its ENDANGERED Species status in 1995, the Burrowing Owl has the focus of a variety of conservation efforts. Operation Burrowing Owl and other projects involving habitat preservation with landowners have been created. Populations are monitored by Fish and Wildlife departments. They have been reintroduced into the British Columbia interior, where it was extirpated. Outlook would improve if larger areas of habitat were preserved and harmful pesticides were banned in all areas of their range. Numbers could increase if an increased tolerance to burrowing mammals develops (i.e. badgers) – provides homes for the Burrowing Owl. Outlook: perilous." From

During three days away (26, 27 and 28 August 2014) with friends Cathy and Terry, we saw so many things, including breathtaking scenery, 4 Black Bears (including one that was swimming in the lake), Bison, Deer (including several that we saw in the town of Waterton, where we stayed for two nights at the clean and friendly Bear Mountain Motel), Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels, Chipmunks, various bird species including these endangered Burrowing Owls (way east of Waterton, on our last day), a few wildflowers, several Yellow-bellied Marmots (a first for me!), a few different insect species, and a family of Dusky Grouse that are uncommon in the park. I even got the chance to see three or four new-to-me old, wooden grain elevators. Oh, and we got caught in a storm like nothing we'd ever seen before - a mesocyclone, apparently.