by Greg Mayer
By special request I obtained photos of a population of burrowing owls in Florida featured last fall here at WEIT. They are now breeding. (See update below.)
One parent is on the mound, and three chicks are visible. Here, the other parent is visible.
There are five chicks altogether. Here’s the report I received on them:
It’s so cool to see how the parents act. They are always positioned the same way, one at the entrance of the burrow watching the chicks and the other hidden behind a tuft of grass a little bit in front of the burrow, standing guard. They’re getting big so fast.
These are not necessarily the same owls pictured in the previous post, but it’s the same population. In the U.S., as discussed in the previous post on them, burrowing owls are mostly western in distribution, with an isolated segment in peninsular Florida. There are also scattered populations in the West Indies.
UPDATE, May 4, 2012. I’ve just received the following note on the baby owls’ development from my correspondent:
The babies are now indistinguishable from the adults in looks, but they still haven’t left the nest. You can tell which ones are the parents by their behavior- mom or dad is usually shooing the babies into their burrow when we walk by.