Burrowing In

While we were out on our looong trip last year, we tried like crazy to spot a Burrowing Owl when we were around prairie dog towns. Alas, we were not so lucky… we thought. The funny thing is, we DID see one, we just didn’t know it at the time.

When I was photographing a couple of Coyotes trotting past a large prairie dog town, my camera caught several of the cute little prairie dogs as they warily watched the predators go by, and it also caught one lone burrowing owl’s backside as it too watched the Coyotes move past. You can see it in the photo below, right in the middle. So, where we thought we’d missed out, we really didn’t.

Since we both really wanted to see these little guys, we got the bright idea to extend our trip from Texas on over to Cape Coral, Florida, where there are bunches of small colonies of the little guys. Along the way we would stop in and see our friends Helaine and Ted Sketo, who live in the southernmost reaches of Alabama.

It was a long drive to our first stop in Louisiana, and then another long day of driving to Ted and Helaine’s. But Ted made it worth it with his culinary skills in the kitchen. We feasted on their home-canned pears, harvested from their yard, salmon, roasted asparagus, and roasted carrots wrapped in prosciutto. In return we bored them to death with photos from our summer/fall trip. As a parting gift they gave us to big jars of their wonderfully delicious pears.

We spent the night in Florida, in a small town about an hour south of them so we could be on our way early the next day. I wanted to be in Cape Coral on my 60th birthday, on the 28th. We managed to leave our hotel early and arrived in Cape Coral about an hour before sunset. Alan suggested we see if we could find some owls before heading to our hotel and I was game.

We were in luck. Evening is a good time to look for the little guys and we found a bunch – in a bunch of different locations that I’d gotten a map to. What fun!! The burrow areas were all marked with PVC pipes so that people would know to stay a little ways away so as not to disturb the birds. Some areas had signage, some didn’t. All of them had “T” posts near the burrows to give the owls somewhere to perch.