The Wise Old Owl Said, “Live in the Trees” – but His One Cousin Went Against the Grain and Followed the Rabbit’s Advise – a True Story
Throughout the centuries the owl was considered to be a wise creature. But, like the one odd one out in any large family, you must always get the one species that goes against the grain. The one that disregards all the trademarks of its species and just does its own thing. Unlike human “odd ones out”, nature tends to sort out any abnormalities through its harsh principle of “survival of the fittest”. So, going against the grain, but still being not being on the extinct birds list at least saves some of this “otherwise” owl’s dignity, as being not so bright.
This black sheep of the family is called the Burrowing owls of Columbia. Its name already gives away its main oddity; being the only owl species to live on and under the ground. It nests underground in abandoned or self-made holes on the open plains, so the lack of trees is clearly one of the reasons for its strange habitat choice.
Living down under (pardon the pun) creates all sorts of new problems. At only 10 inches tall they have to be on the lookout of all types of ground predators. During breeding time, that means that the male has to be on high alert 24/7, while his cousins snuggle up every day for their daily dose of sleep in their trees.
Another problem for this “odd bird out” is that their chicks have to hatch and learn how to fly before the start of the rainy season, as their burrows get flooded and they will drown. It must also be a bit more difficult for the little ones to learn to fly, as it is clearly not as easy for them as falling out of a tree. Being so much on the ground, they are actually quite fast little runners and looking at their running motion, you feel like going “beep-beep”. See how they run…