Adventures & Travel,  Something to Bark About

The Burrowing Owl Of Nevada


The last time I was in Nevada, was the first time I ever came across one of these cute little owls!  Since then, I have found myself searching for them everywhere, whenever I am here.

I had almost given up on seeing one on this visit, when, about 2 weeks ago, we were out walking.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw some slight movement near a culvert.  I stopped to look, and there it was, my second ever, Burrowing Owl!

I stopped to get a picture (or 2 or 3), and it was at this moment, that I realized this little guy wasn’t alone!

Across the street from where he was sitting, I saw another!

The second one was also near a culvert that ran under the road.  Someone had sat a little bowl of water out for it – though I am not sure the owls ever went near it.

I walked across the street to get a closer look. This owl was not happy with me coming as close as I did to the first one (the first one let me walk right up to it).

This one began to make a rattling noise and shook its feathers at me.  I didn’t want to upset it – I figured it must be protecting a nest, possibly babies, so I backed away.

It was after I stepped back some, that the babies decided to come out as well.

I think we counted 5 owls outside of the nest that day, as well as the one across the street.

We made sure to stay back and not disturb them.  We got a few pictures and a short video (which I will include on Instagram, so be sure to watch that as well), and then we left quietly.

Owls have always fascinated me – probably more than any other type of bird.  The Burrowing Owl is one of my favorites.  Maybe because they are so small – they only grow to about 10 inches, and weigh approximately 6 ounces!

But they also have unique characteristics, that other types of owls do not necessarily have.

Did you know:

-They are called Burrowing Owls because, unlike most owls, Burrowing Owls make their homes underground.  They will usually use a hole that already exists – culverts, abandoned squirrel or tortoise nests, etc.

-Unlike other owls, the Burrowing Owl is a day hunter, not a night hunter.

-They like to live in open areas such as prairies, deserts and pastures.

-They hoard their food in their nests (one nest that was discovered, held over 200 rodents in it – that is a LOT of food for those little owls)!

-They have a tolerance for carbon dioxide that is higher than it is for most other birds – maybe a result of adapting to life underground.

-They will scatter bits of trash at the entrance to their burrow, to signify that “this burrow is taken”.

-The average lifespan for a Burrowing Owl is about 5 or 6 years.  Though one in California was discovered to have lived to be 9 years old and going strong!  What a trooper!  🙂

So, if you are ever in Nevada and are out enjoying the outdoors, take the time to see if you can spot one of these little owls.  They are easy to miss if you aren’t looking for them, but, with any luck, maybe you will spot one or two!

You can check out the short video of the owl protecting the nest by clicking here to visit us on Instagram


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