It took 4 trips, the purchase of a bird blind and 5 hours of impatiently waiting in the blind for a burrowing owl to pop up out of its nest. Some photographers are just lucky enough to walk up to a burrowing owl, shoot the photo and successfully get the shot and be done. Not me.
Burrowing owls are small owls (about 9 inches tall) and were at one time fairly common and widespread over western North America. Populations have declined and in some cases have disappeared due to human encroachment on their habitat. They are listed as endangered or threatened in a number of states and are endangered in Canada.
They do not dig their own burrows, but instead will “borrow” the vacated burrows created by prairie dogs and squirrels for nesting. The elimination/reduction of prairie dogs can cause the populations of the burrowing owls to collapse, further endangering them.
The burrowing owl is currently listed as threatened in Colorado.
Our first trip to find/photograph a burrowing owl was with the help of an Audubon guide, Bob Bradley, who was kind enough to lead us to the location of a nest near Grand Junction, Colorado. We found the nest, saw the owl – my very first sighting!
The second trip, using my 500mm lens and tripod I tried to get close enough, but the owl would fly off before I could approach within 300 feet. Too far for good photography.
On the the third trip to the nest site, we used the Honda Pilot as a bird blind. I was able to get to within 150 feet and start to see some detail in the bird, but still not close enough for good bird photography.
For the final (I wish) and fourth trip, I first purchased a portable bird blind and was able to set up “camp” as close as 60 feet from the nest. The blind worked. I was able to get a few shots and video of one owl poking up above the rim of the nest. But it took 5 hours of waiting time. There has to be a better way?
Will there be a fifth trip? Well, I have to make use of my investment and it’s about time for some luck!
Comes with a chair, room for one, but no toilet facilities 🙂