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The Burrowing Owl’s Cozy Underground Home

Owls that live underground! The Secret Life of Burrowing Owls is a collection of images that photographer Mac Stone captured over a period of six months.

As their name suggests, burrowing owls live underground—a vacant prairie dog hole is a cool alternative (around 59F or 15C) to the extreme heat above ground. They eat small rodents, insects, amphibians, and reptiles, often swooping down catching them from flight.

But burrowing owls also catch with bait left around their nest holes. Parents are known to attract insects with Bison droppings — an insect shelter from the heat — providing delicious, nutrient bugs for hungry two-week old owls.

Prairie dogs, bison, and insects — all important animals to the burrowing owl‘s survival in the rangelands and wide open landscapes of North and South America. Read more about them at SmithsonianMag.com

burrowing owls

In the archives: more amazing owl videos, some bison, and decoding the language of prairie dogs.

Updated video.

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