The Burrowing Owl – Roswell, NM


Ann and I got back from Roswell, New Mexico late yesterday, Thursday, afternoon.  It was a fun three days.  Our purpose was to bird and photograph Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge.  I will have more on that in a day or two, but I wanted to share with you one of the highlights, and it took place in downtown Roswell, NM.

We had visited Bitter Lake NWR on Tuesday, but on Wednesday morning, Michael Richardson, one of the owners of the Enchanted Farm Bed & Breakfast, where we were staying,  took us on a little tour around the area.  Driving through one area of the city, we passed a little prairie dog village.  There were many Black-tailed Prairie Dogs scurrying around, but what caught my attention were several Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia), standing on some of the mounds, enjoying the early morning sun.  I had never seen one of these owls up close nor had any photographs, so I was excited to have this photo op.

I made an illegal U-turn and parked across the street.  I got my Canon EOS 7D with the 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter out of the car, and crossed back over to the fence that was bordering the area.  I proceeded to get several images of one of them, by propping my camera on a fence post.

Later on, as Michael was taking us towards another park, we spotted this owl on an overhead wire.  Wow!  Talk about getting some great shots, here was this one just posing for me.

These little owls are only about 9 inches tall, and they are real cuties.  Click on any of the images to see an enlargement.  I am making this post short, as I have many things to do to get caught up.  I will do a post about Bitter Lake NWR in a few days and have more info for you about that place.

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47 thoughts on “The Burrowing Owl – Roswell, NM

    • Thanks, Derrick. I just checked your blog briefly, and I see you are a great fan of the Big Bend area. I will take a longer look later and comment. It looks exciting. :-)

  1. Big congrats on your first Burrowing Owl images Bob. Photographing them is addicting because they exhibit so much character. The young ones are even more delightful. I can’t get enough time with them myself.

    I am looking forward to your upcoming images from Bitter Lake NWR

    • Thanks, Mia, I appreciate your comments. I agree, it is so much fun to photograph them. There were some young ones there, but way to far away for me to reach them and make any quality images.

  2. Great photo of this little one,Bob, I am happy for you. When I first saw them in real life I was surprised by their size.I had no camera with me but did have binoculars.

  3. Big congrats Bob! I can imagine how much you’ve wanted some quality photos like these of the species. I’ve spent a lot of time with Burrowing Owls and I’ve never seen one perched anywhere near as high as your bird on the wire must have been – very unusual in my experience.

    • Thanks so much, Ron. I, too, thought that it was unusual to see it on the wire. There was another one nearby, also on the wire, and I suspect they were a ‘couple’.

  4. Thanks. We have lots of prairie dogs around our residential area, which I enjoy. It never occurred to me to look for burrowing owls. I’ll look for them now, ’cause you just never know!

  5. Oh lucky you! I am so envious. I missed seeing a Burrowing Owl when I was in northern NM in February. I love New Mexico, so I’ll add this to my list of places to visit. Beautiful shots. Thanks for posting!

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