The search for burrowing owls continues

It’s already almost June, and I haven’t found our burrowing owls yet. I’m afraid they may not be back nesting on our property this year.

A few years ago, I drove all over southeast Wyoming, looking for burrowing owls. I followed tips from others to find where there were suspected burrowing owl burrows, but I never found any. The closest I came was when I asked a guy on a four-wheeler if there were any prairie dog towns around, because that’s were you’ll usually find burrowing owls. He replied that they’d brought the backhoe out and filled in all the prairie dog burrows.

Just when I’d given up my search for owls, I was driving home on our county road, and a movement out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. I looked over to see a burrowing owl sitting on top of a fence post. Directly behind the owl, across a couple of pastures, I could see my house in the background. I’d searched the whole southeast corner of the state, and here they were, within sight of my own home.

But the next year, those owls didn’t return. We went a few years with no burrowing owl sightings. But then last summer, I was driving down our easement after nightfall and two birds flew up right in front of me. In the headlights, I got a very good, though quick, view of a burrowing owl in flight.

Those owls hung around all summer, but I never did figure out where they were nesting. I have been hoping they’ll be back this year, but aside from one possible sighting of an owl earlier this spring, I haven’t seen them. I don’t know if they’re out here on my place somewhere or if they chose to go somewhere else to nest this year. I’m hoping they’re here, and I’m just not seeing them yet because they’re busy keeping eggs warm or otherwise doing whatever it is burrowing owls do to spruce up their houses in the spring.

If they are here, I’ll try to get you some pictures of ‘em.