Like many bird photographers I find Burrowing Owls to be a challenging subject for their tendency to perch in areas that are either unattractive (burrow entrances) or have obscuring vegetation. Occasionally I do find one perched on top of sagebrush giving a relatively clear view of the bird but I have a fair number of images with such a perch and I’m always on the lookout for something a little different.
1/5000, f/6.3, ISO 500, Canon 7D, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +1.4tc, not baited, set up or called in
Then six days ago on Antelope Island as I rounded a curve in the road I encountered this Burrowing Owl on a large rock with a clean setting and background. It was a cool morning and the sun had only recently come up so this bird was obviously enjoying the warming rays and showed no signs of nervousness as I approached.
1/3200, f/6.3, ISO 500, Canon 7D, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +1.4tc, not baited, set up or called in
It assumed this raised-leg pose for quite a while and both of its feet were obviously muddy so I suspect the owl may have spent part of the morning remodeling its burrow. It was in no mood to give me any pose variety so after taking a few shots I left the area with the owl still on the rock. It always pleases me to photograph a bird when my presence didn’t cause it to flush.
As I’ve said in the past I strongly support banding programs that have well thought out bird conservation goals but I’ll freely admit that I was pleased to find a Burrowing Owl without bands on its legs or antennae/transmitters sticking out of its back. That doesn’t happen much anymore.