“Burrowing Owl”

Deep in the Burrow


This Image was just awarded a white ribbon in the 2018, 2nd Triannual Florida State (FCCC) Digital photo compettition. The photo shows a “Burrowing Owl” , native to Marco Island, Florida, where my dear friend Wimal Fernando lives.

Burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) are so named because they live underground in burrows that have been dug out by small mammals like ground squirrels and prairie dogs. Current burrowing owl population estimates are not well known but trend data suggests significant declines across their range. Most recent official estimates place them at less than 10,000 breeding pairs.

Burrowing owls are distributed from the Mississippi to the Pacific and from the Canadian prairie provinces into South America. They are  found in Florida and the Caribbean islands. Burrowing owls have disappeared from much of their historic range.

Wimal Head Shot

Thank you Wimal for being my tour guide in your neighborhood this summer!

I thoroughly enjoyed it.



Burrowing Owls- day 2--8 am -IMG_3531 (3)Burrowing Owl - ++day 1-IMG_3315

Additional Photos  of Owls in Marco Island shared by Deepthie

11 thoughts on ““Burrowing Owl””

  1. Congratulations Sam on your award for this beautiful pic of the owl.What is of interest to me is the evolutional aspect of the burrowing owl.Why would a bird of prey come down to nest in burrows where it is more susceptible to of being preyed upon by predators on the ground.Well it has survived through years of evolution,although the recent decline in numbers is worrying.Eddie.


    1. Thats a great evolutionary question Eddie. These owls are small but able to fly fairy high in the air for short distances. They like to live and nest in open grassy landscape with low vegitation, such as golf courses and roadside abandoned lots etc. The demise in their population is believed to be due mostly to cummilative effects of human activity, pesticides, agriculture and development rather than preditors. Conservational activity has been fairly helpful. Even in Marco Island these nests are protected and there are some efforts to create nesting holes for them, due to declinining population of prairie dogs and others who provide the habitat for nesting holes.


  2. Thank you Sam- for the lovely photo of my favourite bird of Florida- The Burrowing Owl !!
    Thanks to Wimal- we both got to see this lovely , small bird .

    Ever since I heard about the Burrowing Owl- I wanted to see it and there it was – right on Wimal’s door step so to speak .
    If you take a look at the web post / pics from the Florida trip, that you Sam, posted in Feb 2018 , there will be a few nice pics I took .

    We got very lucky- Wimal spotted it the very first time, we visited the protected area of owl nesting burrow areas, on the way to his place , near his home , even before I even went to his home .
    I died and went to Burrowing Owl Heaven !!!!

    Then after that I just HAD to see them every day twice a day, for the next three days and must have at least 50 photos !!
    Such sweet cute birds they are . Wimal even introduced his little grandson to the joy of seeing this little owl .
    Perhaps – we have another little fan for this little owl.

    Thanks Sam for the post an the notes ,and BIG Thank YOU to Wimal and Iranthie, for taking me around and being ever soooo patient with the bird watcher / lover , that Iam !
    eagleowllover !


  3. Hi Wimal,Sam and Deepthie, Are There no feral cats on Marco island.? If there are, then I am sure the burrowing owl population will decline.Eddie.


    1. HI Eddie- as for feral cats- I did not see any cats roaming around . Marco Island has very strict rules reg the protection / preserving the burrowing owl .

      People of Marco Island are very proud and protective of this iconic bird on their land , and you can see how the nest is protected by roping it off, so grass cutting will not damage the nest .
      People are not allowed to ‘jump the rope ‘ to get near the burrow . All people are expected by local law, to report any evidence of harasment to the bird , and to report any burrowing activity on their properties .

      Perhaps Wimal can answer this question reg feral cats for us, as he is now our Burrowing Owl Rep of Class of 64 , having the previledge of living in Marco Island !

      Thanks Sam for the post and congrats for the Photo Award !


      1. Thanks Deepthie for your reply.I brought up the issue of feral cats because the native Kiwi population in our region is under threat by feral cats.I am sure, that as long as there are cat lovers, the chances of them becoming feral are high.Wimal must know the local situation.Eddie.


    2. Hello Eddie,

      Feral cats are not here. We have some Bob Cats that are further North in the Island. Burrowing Owls are a protected species from State Of Florida. They are left alone & people don’t harm them, to a point ,they are very friendly when you get near them. They get beaten up only during Hurricane season, if there is a lerge inrush of water from ocean. Even with the last year Hurricane Irma, only a few holes got flooded & a few birds died.



  4. Dear Sam
    Congratulations on getting such an prestigious award for your beautiful picture of the burrowing owl. The photo is indeed very pretty. Thank you for sharing it with us and giving us an insight into the habitat and behaviour of this beautiful bird. Praxy


  5. Congratulations Sam on being chosen as the winner of the FCCC Digital photo competition.

    Thanks to Deepthi for her pics,and to Wimal for his contribution in helping to locate the nesting sites


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