Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 09/20/2014

Photo taken on July 20, 2014

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Bow Valley Provincial Park
Anne Elliott
Burrowing Owl
W of Calgary
from Coaldale Birds Of Prey Centre
Family: Strigidae
Genus: Athene
Athene cunicularia
bird of prey

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Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl
This is not one of the wild Burrowing Owls that friends, Cathy and Terry, and I, saw in southern Alberta on 28 August 2014. It was part of an exhibit from the Coaldale Birds of Prey Centre that was being held in a park to the west of Calgary, on 20 July 2014. Though I was able to get a much closer shot, the light was not good, and I gave up trying to get the colouring right last night. Only once did this little owl turn its head to look forward, the rest of the time it was turning its head from side to side, non-stop. They really are the cutest little things : )

""As a result of its ENDANGERED Species status in 1995, it 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

On 20 July 2014, I plucked up courage to do a drive that I’d never done before. I had been that route once before that I can think of, when I carpooled with others. A good part of the drive was in familiar territory, but I’d never driven the last part of the journey myself. I had met my youngest daughter at 9:00 a.m. and we were both eager to see this display of birds of prey that had been brought up from the Coaldale Birds of Prey Centre.

This year, there were not quite as many birds, but it was great to see any at all. There was this Burrowing Owl, a Barn Owl, a Great Horned Owl, and a Golden Eagle. Another real treat that was an amusing one, was seeing a baby Barn Owl that was just 45 days old! This little ball of fluff was acting as a great ambassador, letting young kids get a close view and ask questions, and fall in love with it – and to hopefully, in the future, do everything they can as adults to protect our precious wildlife. The enjoyment of seeing these birds up close reminds one that the reason these birds are not free to live in the wild, is because of some kind of interaction with humans – such as permanent injuries from being hit by a vehicle, pesticide use, or even worse, being shot by a human! This is what happened to “Spirit”, the magnificent Golden Eagle, shot and blinded by someone.

This exhibit was our first destination in the park, though on the drive from Calgary, we had stopped at the small McDougall Church at Morley. After seeing and photographing the birds of prey, we then drove to Middle Lake that’s in a different part of the park. We walked the very short distance to the edge of the lake, but didn't walk around it. From there, we drove to Many Springs Trail and did a slow walk around the lake, stopping to look at and photograph a few different wildflowers and butterflies. Though slow, it was still further than I should have walked, ha. Certain wildflowers were already finished, including the various Orchid species, but there were still plenty of other species to see and enjoy. Even the weather cooperated, though the forecast had been for isolated showers. Not too hot, nice clouds in the sky and lovely to have my daughter’s company for the day.

Ken Dies
Ken Dies
Just a lovely photo of this little owl. Back in the late 60's they were quite common near my home town of Stettler and abundant near Castor and Cornation. Everything is disappearing due to factory farming, very unfortunate.
4 years ago.
Anne Elliott has replied to Ken Dies
Thanks, Ken! Yes, very sad how more and more natural land is being taken over by humans. It can only get worse as the years go by, the way the population of the planet is growing.
4 years ago.