Tuesday, November 15, 2005

BURROWING OWL... CORUJA BURAQUEIRA...

There are a couple of owls living in my yard and many others in my neighborhood. It’s so beautiful to see them all the time, here and there, flying off overhead, every day, around all the year. One evening I arrived to find the owl actively hunting and I saw the owl kills and eats a big mouse. I stayed just still to watching it. With smaller prey owls simply swallow the animal whole. But with larger prey, an owl must tear off bits of meat to swallow. It’s very common see the owl floating silently upward into a tree. They drop from a high perch and fly low to the ground. It sometimes calls in the daytime and if disturbed will fly easily from one grove of trees to another. My husband took these pictures near our house. A couple of beautiful owls just stared at him straight from the top of the kiosk.

I summarize some interesting information about Owls. "The Owl is any of some 200+ species of solitary, mainly nocturnal birds of prey in the order Strigiformes. Owls mostly hunt small mammals, insects, and other birds, though a few species specialize in hunting fish. They are found on all the Earth's lands except for Antarctica, most of Greenland, and some remote islands."

Owls are far-sighted, and are unable to clearly see anything within a few inches of their eyes. Their far vision, particularly in low light, is incredibly good.Many owls can also hunt by sound in total darkness. Different species of owls make different sounds, and a variety of other barking calls and screams. One of which is the recognizable "hoo-hoo” Click on this site to hear their "hoo-hoo".

"The
Burrowing Owl is an owl of dry, open habitats such as “cerrado” and savannah while it is often found in cities, golf courses and other similar areas. It nests in the ground usually in a burrow excavated by another animal such as a skunk or armadillo."


"Most owls are nocturnal, but several, including the pygmy owls (Glaucidium), are crepuscular, or twilight active, hunting mainly at dawn and dusk. A few owls, such as the Burrowing Owl (Speotyto cunicularia) and the Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus), are also active during the day.






"In the Western world, owls are traditionally associated with wisdom and knowledge and with the Greek goddess Athena. That's because Athena was a bird goddess and assumed often the form of an owl. Athena was not only the goddess of wisdom, but was also the goddess of arts and skills. With this association, owls became also the symbol of teaching and of institutions of learning, being present in the crest of arms of many universities.

The Ancient Egyptians made a representation of an owl into their hieroglyph for 'm', although they would often draw this hieroglyph with its legs broken to keep the bird of prey from coming to life and attacking.

In Japanese culture, the bird is a symbol of death and seeing one is considered a bad omen. The same is true in Italian and Romanian culture, where the mournful call of an owl predicts the death of somebody living in the neighborhood.

The Romans also considered owls to be funerary birds, for their nocturnal activity and having their nests in inaccessible places, therefore, seeing an owl at daytime was considered a bad omen.

Taboo surrounds owls in the culture of the Native American Hopi nation, they are regarded as a dirty and ominous creature."



Next post I will introduce another wild bird seen at Enseada Azul: the Hawks.









Photos by Carlos Alckmin Mascaro

19 comments:

  1. Those are fabulous pictures of the owls. I love waking in the middle of the night to the sound of owls hooting.

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  2. Sonia--Owls are one of my favorite birds. I will hear them hooting in the dark night (& the coyotes howling), but I rarely get to see them. Your Burrowing Owl photos are a delight--I want to know what you have on your rooftops that is attracting these wonderful birds! Thank you for giving us information. It is a joy to read.

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  3. I love owls,When mattie came over from Canada this summer we went to the falconry centre and flew owls and hawks it was great fun.

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  4. We hear owls around our place in the night but I virtually never see them. The last one we saw was up in a tree on top of Sugar Mountain about two years ago. We spotted it when we were having lunch mid-way in our hike.

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  5. Great pictures. I love photos of birds. Funny you were able to catch them in the day when they are generally nocturnal.

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  6. Hi Sonia, What wonderful pictures and information about the owls. We have owls here and I was lucky enough to see one once during the day, a few feet away. And of course I didn't have a camera!

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  7. I love owls, when we were little my mom did animal rescue and occasionaly she would get owls, they are fascinating to watch.

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  8. Great pictures, Sonia. Again, a fascinating post and so inspiring!! Thanks for dropping by my blog earlier :)

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  9. Despite my current interest in owls, I very seldom get to see them other than in zoos -- and that's not quite the same.

    I loved seeing them here

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  10. Love the photos, Sonia. It is nice to learn about the owls through your posts.

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  11. Beautiful photos. the Ibis ones especially since I had never seen them.

    We have owls and there are several different kinds that you can identify mostly by their sounds. One in Tucson Arizona makes a sound like laughter.

    I love owls but they are why my cats don't get to stay out at night or get out too early in the morning-- especially the littlest cat. We have a few species of owl here that she'd just be lunch for.

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  12. One Thanksgiving night, we heard a strange racket from outside and my husband grabbed a flashlight and ran into the yard. Shining a light into a fir tree, he found several tiny screech owls, screeching away. A magical night indeed.

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  13. Just catching up with your blog again, Sonia. And what great photos - living in the city as I do now, it has been a while since I heard the owl's call .... so a real pleasure to remind myself what unique birds they are.

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  14. I love your owl posts, Sonia! Last winter, I saw a large owl perched high in a tree outside my kitchen window. Now that the leaves have fallen, I'll be watching to see if it returns this year.

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  15. The pictures of the owls are so cute. It is interesting how they are out during the light. When I was growing up on a farm, we heard and saw owls, only at night. Of course, ours were not the same type as the ones you've posted.

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  16. I loved reading about the different way owls are perceived in various cultures. Thanks for that information!

    Recently I went on a horticultural tour of the Melbourne zoo. We were talking about the damage that can be caused to vegetation by animals, and what the zoo does to combat it. Possums are a terrible pest to gardens, but they are protected and can't be culled. The zoo gardener said that a large fake owl keeps possums and other pests away. That's useful to know!

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  17. Oooo Sonia that is a bit scary about seeing an owl and it being a symbol of death... a bad omen. I am glad that it is myth! When I clicked that picture of the larger owl I can't remember if anything creepy happened and CH, the Husband, and I are still around.. :) Truly is some fascinating info you have here and how awesome to have the owls around all day, all year. They really are a magnificent bird. I am pretty sure the owl I saw that day was hunting small mice next to the workshop/garage.

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