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Burrowing Owls of Mountain View

     Among the many parks that ring San Francisco Bay is Shoreline Park in Mountain View. This park has a paved nature trail and displays a variety of birds, especially waterfowl. The park service has also kindly provided a nice mound, with some large-diameter drain pipe installed in it, as an attractive home site for burrowing owls. This turned out to be an offer the birds could not refuse and this spring, a pair of burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) made it their home and promptly started a family. This family is now on display, so I made a trip to Mountain View on 16 August 2005 to do their portraits. Click on any of the thumbnails below to go to the appropriate page. Several pages have more than one image; please scroll down to see them all.

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Adult and Young Owls Family Portraits
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Flying Owls General shots

   The general setup. The owl mound is about 50 feet from the bicycle path and a series of traffic cones has been placed on the edge of the path to discourage visitors from annoying the owls. I used a tripod for some shots, but most were taken handheld. All images taken with Canon digital SLRs (a 10D and a 1D mark II) and Canon zoom telephotos (a 70-200 mm and a 100-400 mm) with or without a 1.4x extender. Wildlife visible in the image below: 3 owls and 1 hiker. There are three entry holes visible in the mound from this angle: one marked with the white pipe and the stake just below and to the left of it, and two dug by the owls without external assistance. The other side of the mound contains at least three more holes.

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