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November 19, 2002

Burrowing owls of Yuma, Arizona
Posted by Teresa at 03:27 PM *

Two pages, no explanations. I just like them.

More burrowing owls; this photo by Jason Stemple.

They’re a convivial species.

Southern Arizona is good for odd owls. Not only do they have the world’s only species of burrowing owl; they have the world’s smallest, the absurdly tiny elf owl.

Comments on Burrowing owls of Yuma, Arizona:
#1 ::: Greg van Eekhout ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2002, 04:14 PM:

I saw some of these in the parking lot at Scottsdale Community College. One was standing in front of a drainpipe, presumably waiting for something to crawl out of it. They were great fun to watch. Cheaper than the zoo.

#2 ::: JS ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2002, 04:24 PM:

These are the coolest looking owls I've ever seen. I wish I could see them for real, though the photographs are beautiful.

#3 ::: Scott Janssens ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2002, 04:53 PM:

Is it just me or is the owl in the first piction on the second page flipping us the *ahem* bird?

#4 ::: Scott Janssens ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2002, 04:54 PM:

That should be picture, not piction. Fingers moving faster than the brain.

#5 ::: Jeff Youngstrom ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2002, 05:06 PM:

There used to be (10 years ago, maybe still) a large colony of these by Mission College just off Hwy 101 in Santa Clara, CA. I rode my bike by there going to work every day and saw them hanging around more often than not. Very cool birds. Bunches of rabbits too in those same open fields west of the main buildings.

#6 ::: BCnielsen ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 08:15 AM:

Coincidenally, this specie also inhabited the culverts of Mesa Community College. I recall running a long feature in the paper on their presence and noting that they would attack if provoked. They are nocturnal, of course, which made them a hazard to the night class students. Makes you wonder what gets sloshed around in the irrigation system.

#7 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 03:57 PM:

Scott, from typos come new words. I think we should adopt 'piction' to mean 'fake photo'. Or maybe 'fake or otherwise tampered-with photo'.

#8 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 04:49 PM:

I think we should use it as the word for "graphic or illustrative element of unspecified variety," instead of "graphic", which is the current usage. Bugs me every time I see it. "Graphic" is an adjective, not a noun. "Piction" would be just right.

#9 ::: Jane Yolen ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 07:00 PM:

ANother great picture of burrowing owls at my photographer son's webpage:



#10 ::: Paul Riddell ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 07:18 PM:

I've always been envious of those who have burrowing owls in their back yards. The closest I've come to them came courtesy of the Fort Worth Zoo. The FWZ has, in the back, a very interesting Texana display, which mostly centers around the opportunities for city and suburban kids to meet domesticated animals in open surroundings. However, the Zoo also has a very nice prairie display, which includes a prairie dog colony, ratlesnakes, a pair of black-footed ferrets, and (ta-dah!) burrowing owls. Now if I could just get the opportunity to _watch_ those owls burrow...

#11 ::: Berni Phillips Bratman ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 08:39 PM:

We had burrowing owls a few years ago where I work. They had moved into squirrels' burrows and made it their nesting ground. They were discovered when the area was being surveyed prior to having one of those big blow-out shindigs Silicon Valley used to be famous for. The owls were an endangered species so the party had to be moved inside to the San Jose Arena (formerly the Compaq Arena and now the HP Pavilion).

Alas, they started closing off the burrows when the owls took off for a bit, making sure they wouldn't come back, so they are gone. I haven't seen the flock of swallows around that would circle the gardener as he used the riding mower recently either. We still do get the occasional duck and band of sandpipers, obviously lost.

#12 ::: Greg van Eekhout ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 09:18 PM:

At least one Phoenix-area housing development has set aside room for burrowing owls, but how much habitat the owls lost to make room for the development, I don't know.

#13 ::: Greg van Eekhout ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 09:22 PM:

Crud. Messed up the link. Correct one here.

#14 ::: Sue Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 07:25 AM:

Cats with feathers.

#15 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 08:59 AM:

In re wanting a word for "graphic or illustrative element of unspecified variety": maybe "illo" does the job well enough.

#16 ::: Karin ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 02:03 AM:

There was a family of burrowing owls living in/under a concrete jersey barrier on the flight line at Travis Air Force Base in CA in the mid-1990s. For all I know their descendants may still be there. Would have thought the flight line too noisy and chaotic for their tastes, but they seemed happy. They are entirely too cute.

#17 ::: marty grabien ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2002, 05:28 PM:


Jane, went to Jason's page. Terrific photos.

#18 ::: janet kagan ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2002, 11:42 AM:

A couple of photos of the Florida burrowing owl here--
Scroll down a bit for the one living in a culvert. Too cute for words! Fans of burrowing owls will enjoy Carl Hiaasen's HOOT (his first YA), fans of Carl Hiaasen's will enjoy it too. Ricky and I fought over who got to read it first; he won but only because I let him. (Darn, sorry. I can't figure out how to make that link clickable.)

#19 ::: dd ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2003, 09:30 AM:

ererter dsgfdg fghtyrtyuyu

#20 ::: dd ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2003, 09:31 AM:

gmtuoewy h htyyu oopeo

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