Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pic of the Day

     Burrowing Owl, Athene cunicularia – Cape Coral, Florida:  The Burrowing Owl is the only diurnal owl in North America. While other owls can be seen, and do some hunting during the day, they do their primary hunting at night. The Burrowing Owl hunts day and night, being most active during the morning and evening. Typical food of Burrowing Owls include, insects, skinks lizards, small birds and small mammals.
     In Cape Coral, Burrowing Owls occupy empty lots adjacent to human dwellings. Nest are easily located as most are marked with wood stakes and posted as a protected species. The stakes also serve as a perch owls use to guard burrow entrances, and to hunt from. In Florida, Burrowing Owls typically nest in abandoned gopher tortoise burrows, though the burrows of other animals may be used.
     The prairie grasslands, or what was once the prairie grassland of Florida is the only place Burrowing Owls still exist east of the Mississippi. Of course, these once prairie grasslands now include golf courses, airports, and school campuses.
     This Burrowing Owl was photographed in a group of vacant lots during the fall season. Instead of trying to stalk the bird, I used my van as a blind. The owlsin Cape Coral are used to automobiles, and this bird allowed me to drive to within 25 feet of where it was sitting. Using a window mounted tripod head to steady my camera, I was able to shoot a couple of rolls of film before driving off. The tried grasses provided the perfect backdrop for the owls tawny plumage and yellow eyes, providing me with one of my most memorable and favorite images.

Nikon F5, Nikkor 500mm f/4, Kodachrome 64

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