Burrowing Owls – Hollywood Florida USA

Burrowing Owls – Hollywood Florida USA

This past year it has been a bit of a challenge to photograph owls and this has led much travel however each mile has been a pleasure, especially in the case of the Burrowing Owl who wisely chooses to live in Florida!  Last month we went with our son and daughter in law to photograph Burrowing Owls in Hollywood, Florida which is a suburb of Fort Lauderdale.  We visited about six burrows and saw about half a dozen different birds.

Burrowing Owls are small birds approximately 9″ tall with a wing span of about 24″ and have characteristically long legs giving them a unique appearance.  They are a relatively common owl found throughout North and South America however as they tend to favour the western parts of the Americas we don’t  see them in Ontario.  As their name indicates, these small owls live underground, a rarity for animals that fly! Non-migratory Burrowing Owls will occupy the same burrow for many years and spend most of their time very close to the burrow, taking flight to catch bugs and insects or avoid being preyed upon by snakes or even cats.  There is not much dimorphism between the sexes however the males tend to be slightly longer and leaner and often lighter in colour which is thought to be due the bleaching effect of the sun on the males who are typically outside of the burrow more than the female.

A good-looking couple!

Burrowing Owl 08

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Burrowing Owl 01

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Burrowing Owl 04

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Burrowing Owl 06

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Burrowing Owl 07

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Burrowing Owl 02

Just to show that Burrowing Owls really do burrow their own homes, even if it means throwing sand on their partner!

But don’t worry he felt bad and immediately and meticulously removed all the sand 🙂

The Burrowing Owl is constantly scanning the environment for threats and responds immediately when one is detected.  When I looked around after seeing this expression there was one hawk flying overhead, at least three hundred yards away.  Owls are unique in that each of their pupils respond independently to incident light and you can see the different pupil sizes in the following image.

We had an enjoyable time watching the Burrowing Owls as they are quite active through the day although they do most of their hunting between dusk and dawn.  The next time you are visiting the sunshine state, you might just want to go looking for a burrow; you will be glad you did!

4 Comments

  1. Rob Smith

    Stunning shots Scott. These guys look absoultely gorgeous & you’ve captured them perfectly

    • Thank you Rob and it was a treat to finally see these cute little owls. All my references seem to be North American so I’m not sure whether you have them in Australia.

  2. From my perspective, I think you did just fine on the owl front. These are great images and I look forward to adding Florida to my trip south of the border. Would you trade your GGOW and BUOW for a SNOW and a SEOW? 😉