burrowing owls

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Piggy Back Ride

These two young Burrowing Owls (athene cunicularia), are playing, just like human kids. They love to wrestle and jump on each others’ backs. Or fly onto each others’ backs, since they can! I never tire of watching their antics!

Burrowing Owlet siblings jump on each other, wrestle, play dead, and goof around just like human children! It teaches skills they’ll need when they’re actually out hunting prey, which they will be doing a lot more soon, when they leave the protection of their parents. Currently mom and dad still watch over them, but less so as they grow older. I adore watching these young owls, and often am laughing (quietly), while watching them!

Burrowing owls are born underground in burrows, often these are burrows built by prairie dogs. They hunt crickets, grasshoppers, and other bugs, as well as small mammals such as mice, and small reptiles. They are excellent parents, bringing food to their babies until the young ones are hunting bugs for themselves, and even afterwards for a while.

The adults have barring across their chests; the babies start getting these stripes as they get a little older.

Photo taken on July 24, 2020, near Greeley, Colorado.

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