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Burrowing Owl

Athene cunicularia


As in the photos…this is a smaller-sized owl, with long legs. They live in burrows dug by other animals including prairie dogs and desert tortoises.


In my November 9th posting on Project Noah, I indicated that the owls pictured were rescued from construction sites in Arizona, and areas in which their habitat is in danger. At that time, volunteers with Wild at Heart and Audubon were in process of constructing burrows in areas where they are safe and are suitable for their continued survival. The burrows are south of Phoenix in Maricopa, AZ, in an open sandy area in the Sonoran Desert.


Free at last! As of this past weekend, the Burrowing Owls were set free to continue their lives in their new ‘digs’. The first 3 photos are of the ‘detainees' prior to and during release. The 4th and 5th are owls next to their new burrows. Those studying the owls have noted that over the past few years, they are laying fewer eggs (the burrows are being monitored during the breeding season, before release). The area has gone through a several year drought, and that with other factors may be slowing the birth rate. Not all of the owls who are relocated stay in their burrows. Some leave, but wild Burrowing Owls in the area populate the vacated burrows.

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37 Comments (1–25)

maplemoth662 6 years ago

Photo No. 3: is a beautiful, portrait photo....

maplemoth662 6 years ago

Photo No. 1: is a beautiful, action photo....

Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson 7 years ago

Thanks Polilla and Michael, much appreciated!

Michael Strydom
Michael Strydom 7 years ago

Fantastic capture!!! Congrats

Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson 7 years ago

Thanks, Daniele, and all who commented! I totally enjoy being a part of the Noah community. One observation...I have seen quite a number of excellent photos posted all year, but which were not added to the "Best Wildlife Photo" mission. There is a lot of talent out there, and the Best Wildlife mission is a good way to showcase your work.

Awesome series Jim,congrats on the 1st place and thanks for sharing

triggsturner 7 years ago

Congrats on your 1st place Jim. Great shot of a lovely bird.

Felix Fleck
Felix Fleck 7 years ago


armadeus.4 7 years ago

Congratulations Jim! Absolutely stunning shot!

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 7 years ago

Congratulations, Jim. It is really a wonderful shot.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 7 years ago

Congrats again Jim. Well deserved.

DanielePralong 7 years ago

Congratulations Jim, this fantastic image is the winner of our 2016 Best Photo contest (Bird category and all categories)!

Don't forget to join the 2017 Best Photo mission:

Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson 7 years ago

Thanks, Antonio.

Just awesome Jim,i miss this one,congrats on the well deserved SOTD and thanks for sharing your amazing spotting page

Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson 7 years ago

Thanks, larkinpb.

larkinpb 7 years ago

Congratulations on the spotting of the day! Wonderful photos!

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 8 years ago

Belated congrats, Jim, on this SOTD. Beautiful owl, awesome photos, and excellent info :)

Congratulations on the SOTD! Gorgeous pictures, Jim Nelson. Thank you for sharing their story, hope they all do well in their new environment and lay lots of eggs.... : )

InêsVeloso 8 years ago

amazing pictures!

Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson 8 years ago

Thanks, Andre! I have some more work to do to catch up to your Spotting of the Week!

AndréAlves 8 years ago

Spectacular spot Jim! Congratulations on your photo and for the Spotting of the Day!

beaker98 8 years ago

Wonderful pics Jim! Congratulations!

Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson 8 years ago

Thanks Ashley, and all who viewed and commented! You made my day!

Wild Things
Wild Things 8 years ago


Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 8 years ago

Wow what a series. Congratulations Jim.

Jim Nelson
Spotted by
Jim Nelson

Maricopa, Arizona, USA

Spotted on Mar 26, 2016
Submitted on Mar 28, 2016

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