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Burrowing Owl

Athene cunicularia

Burrowing Owl, Athene cunicularia, photo © by Mike Plagens

This burrowing Owl is using a wash-out under an irrigation channel for its retreat near Buckeye, Maricopa Co., Arizona, Nov. 2009.

Being ground dwellers, Burrowing Owls have evolved long legs that help them maintain an excellent field of view above low grass and debris. In addition the neck allows the head to swivel nearly full circle. If it's danger approaching that they see, they will fly a 100 meters away and review the situation from safety. If it is movement in the grass of potential prey, like a mouse, the Burrowing Owl will make a rapid-strike flight for capture. In the Sonoran Desert these owls are most frequent in agricultural areas and sometimes in open flood plains of the major rivers. They require open habitat with mostly low-growing grass/vegetation.

Year-round Resident

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009