At Zanjero Park, the local Desert Rivers Audubon Society has made homes for the Burrowing Owls. Life out in the wild has been made a lot easier for ten or so Burrowing Owls that call Zanjero home. As I walked up along the path of the park, one of the male Burrowing Owls was very aggressive towards me. He always had an angry look on his face. He even buzzed my head a few times.
And he wasn't a force to be reckoned with....
While the others weren't aggressive, I wouldn't call them welcoming either.
I think Burrowing Owls are awesome, and I've seen hundreds of them in my life. Although I could see many half of the distance away in southwest Phoenix as compared to here in Gilbert, I had a "target" Burrowing Owl. Fellow birder Bernie Howe recently photographed three fledgling Burrowing Owls here at the park. Despite seeing so many Burrowing Owls, I still had not seen a young bird. It would be a "plumage lifer", and for owls, that's pretty darn cool! As I walked through the park and along the Burrowing Owl homes, it didn't take me long to find the baby owls. One of them was just getting up for the day!
Here is the mother Burrowing Owl of three fledglings. She has been banded for research. She was very active throughout the morning. The fledglings would often follow her around, or would wine in her direction. She never seized to stay nearby to the owlets.
And for the most part, my target Burrowing Owls were very cooperative for me. It's very fun to watch this bird at it's stage of it's life. It does fly for very short distances. But other than that, it usually prefers to walk and hop along the ground. When the mother owl flew across the path, Burrowing Jr. would walk across the path to get a view of his mothers perch. Or perhaps, to get a view of what she was catching him for breakfast.
As a young owl, there is always something to complain about....
For a good hour and a half, I enjoyed watching these young owls. The trip was very worth it!
The young owls were also very cooperative the entire time, and they didn't show a lot of fear. A few times, I got down on the ground to get eye level with the small owls.
Now, there are three young Burrowing Owls in this family. The young ones seemed to get along quite well, and I didn't notice sibling rivalry to be too much of an issue!
The next set of pictures shows more to the three young Burrowing Owls. They are curious little birds who have a lot of energy throughout the day!
With Burrowing Owl features like this, this park certainly has a wow factor. Other than the owls, I was approached by this obliging and curious Greater Roadrunner. It's not everyday you'll see a Roadrunner like this, which rarely happens for this close and this long.