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Monday, April 15, 2013

Underground Owls

The burrowing owls who live underground instead of in trees

  • The owls nest in holes rather than in trees, and are active during the day
  • Population in decline as their lowland habitat is bought up by developers
  • Images caught by hidden camera in 20 attempts over six months
With coyotes lurking, stray dogs sniffing and raptors soaring above, you could forgive these wide-eyed burrowing owls for looking slightly nervous.
Using a camera hidden in a traffic cone photographer Mac Stone captured the magnificent birds, which nest in underground holes rather than in trees, in 20 attempts over six months.
The charming results show the wise creatures curiously gazing out over the grassland from their tunnelled habitat in Southern Florida.
The wise creatures can be seen curiously gazing out over the grassland from their tunnelled habitat in Southern Florida
The wise creatures can be seen curiously gazing out over the grassland from their tunnelled habitat in Southern Florida
The charming results show the wise creatures curiously gazing out over the grassland from the entrance to their tunnelled habitat
The charming results show the wise creatures curiously gazing out over the grassland from the entrance to their tunnelled habitat
Burrowing owls are diurnal, meaning they are active in the day time, and do most of their hunting and flying around a small open area
Burrowing owls are diurnal, meaning they are active in the day time, and do most of their hunting and flying around a small open area
Mr Stone said: 'Photographing owls is usually difficult, as they have wide territorial ranges, are primarily nocturnal and they nest high in tree cavities.
'Burrowing owls, however, are diurnal and do most of their hunting and flying around a small open area.
'Since their burrows are fixed, it's easy to predict where they'll be a week from now or even five minutes from now.
'They prefer expansive grasslands where they can easily prey on insects and small vertebrates. But, like most habitat-specific animals, their survival is greatly determined by the profitability of their landscapes.
Mr Stone programmed the camera to take a photograph every five seconds over a five hour session
Mr Stone programmed the camera to take a photograph every five seconds over a five hour session. He said : 'I visited them several times, watching their behaviour and trying to figure out how I could position my camera without scaring them away'
The owls are protected species and while their numbers are steady they've had to make serious adjustments to their living styles
The owls are protected species and while their numbers are steady they've had to make serious adjustments to their living styles. Mr Stone said it's rare to see these birds with their surroundings intact, usually because their backyards include golf carts or housing developments
Mr Stone with the camera trap. He specialises in images from the Everglades, Florida Bay, and America's Swamps
Mr Stone with the camera trap. He specialises in images from the Everglades, Florida Bay, and America's Swamps
'Dry, flat grasslands are valuable commodities in South Florida for agricultural use, golf courses, or new strip malls which leaves very little room for these ground dwellers.

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