Burrowing Owl in Argentina

I’m not normally one to try to photograph birds—I have neither the expertise nor the long lenses that are generally required for good bird photographs.  However, during my March trip to Argentina I scared up this burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia), who flew a short distance, landed on a nearby fence post, and then just sat there staring at me—almost as if it was daring me to try.  Never one to turn down a challenge (real or perceived), I took the bait.  My longest lens is a 100mm macro, so I set the camera to automatic mode, pointed it at the bird, and started walking.  After each slow, deliberate step I clicked the shutter, racking up about a dozen shots by the time I took the photos below.  They are minimally cropped only for composition and, thus, attest to how amazingly close the owl allowed me to get before it finally found the situation just too unsettling and flew much farther away.  My colleagues commented afterwards that they wished they’d taken a video of me stalking the owl (which they found almost as amusing as the bird’s incredulous stare).  Perhaps all the tiger beetle stalking I’ve done helped.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2011

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About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
This entry was posted in Aves, Vertebrata and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Burrowing Owl in Argentina

  1. Bug Girl says:

    Those owls are just my favorites. I have never seen them not be adorable, if you can parse that double negative. Thanks for sharing!

  2. biobabbler says:

    Wow, what WONderful birds. Beautiful, clear shots. SO envious.

  3. Very cool Ted! If you get tired with tiger beetles, I’d say you’ve got a future in owl stalking!

  4. James C. Trager says:

    A most comely fowl!
    Well that’s one way to take a picture of an owl. Here’s another: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-14111152 (Ouch!)

  5. I wanted to agree with Bug Girl. Burrowing Owls are amazing to watch, though I’ve never stalked one. They have occurred in Missouri on rare occasions.

  6. eileeninmd says:

    Great post, I just love these cute owls. I would love to see them in person someday!

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