Burrowing Owl Chicks in Badlands National Park

July 28, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Of all the young animals that Pat and I watched in Badlands National Park, the burrowing owl chicks fascinated us the most, in large part because we were privileged to witness a slice of their family life. As you may know, burrowing owls nest in burrows abandoned by small mammals such as prairie dogs, and we first noticed these owlets' mother standing in the opening of her family's burrow in a prairie dog town. Before long, five hungry owlets popped their heads out of the burrow. Soon after, their father landed on a nearby prairie dog burrow, and the female flew over to meet him. He had brought a grasshopper with him, which he transferred to the female, and she flew back to her brood and gave the grasshopper to one of the chicks. We watched the family repeat this feeding behavior three times over the next hour.

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) Chicks, Badlands National Park, South DakotaBurrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) Chicks, Badlands National Park, South Dakota

 

Here's a sequence of their feeding behavior.


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