An Athene cunicularia Story
thought I'd share my Athene cunicularia story with you.
One Saturday morning, tripod in hand, I went out of my brother-in-law's
house to get a panorama of his city (Ponta Grossa, Paraná Brazil). As I passed by
this tree in the neighborhood playground I heard a screeching sound.
Realizing that it came from the tree next to me I looked up to see what it was.
It was a full-grown female Burrowing Owl sitting on a branch just as pretty as
can be. "Wow! I must get a shot of her," I thought to myself!
Heart beating wildly I set my tripod down, but because the last setting on the
tripod left one leg shorter than the other two it fell to the ground. The noise
startled her and she jumped from the tree and perched on the ground just inside
this area that was surrounded by a two foot tall green plastic fence.
I got a couple shots of her but then she flew about 3 meters away and lighted on
a metal yield sign.
Just then another Burrowing Owl (apparently the male) swooped down onto the
mound which (at the time) I had NO idea was their home. He opened his wings wide
and began screaming at me. After a couple of shots of him doing
this wild "war dance" I went off to get my shooting done elsewhere.
When I was on my way back he was still in the fenced-in area and wings wide open
began screeching again. I opened my tripod base and held it in front of me like
a shield lest he attack.
Suddenly he turned and jumped face first into this foot-wide hole in the ground.
That's when I realized he was just protecting his home and that there must be
some owlets down in there.
Also I realized someone from the neighborhood must have placed the fence there
to keep people from walking on these owls home. In the end he came back out and
both male and female stood hovering over the hole guarding their precious babies.
It's not much, but there it is: the story of my first encounter with a couple of
Burrowing Owls. Hope you enjoyed it.
Curitiba, PR Brazil
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