LOUISIANA BIRD RECORDS COMMITTEE

REPORT FORM

     

1. English and Scientific names: Burrowing Owl, Athene cunicularia

 

2. Number of individuals, sexes, ages, general plumage (e.g., 2 in alternate plumage):  1

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3. Locality: LOUISIANA: (parish)  Cameron

 

Specific Locality: about 4.5 miles west of community of Holly Beach

 

4. Date(s) when observed: 20 August 2011

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5. Time(s) of day when observed: about 2:15 pm

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6. Reporting observer and address:

Paul Conover

Lafayette, LA

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7. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):

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8. Other observers who independently identified the bird(s):

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9. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light): Sunny, very bright on beach but not to exclusion of identifying the bird or documenting it with photos.   

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10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition): Zeiss 10s, Nikon D50 or D20 (300 mm lens). 

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11. Distance to bird(s): 40 yards, perhaps

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12. Duration of observation: ca. 5 minutes 

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13. Habitat: Gulf beach south of highway 82.  The bird was perched on trash in a wrack line composed of darkened washed up sargassum (or similar) between Gulf and highway. 

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14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation:  I was driving by and saw a bird perched on the horizontal with its legs bent but visible beneath the body.  I thought to myself that it looked like a Burrowing Owl, and I U-turned immediately, but I expected the bird to be some other species perched in an awkward position that resembled a Burrowing Owl.  However, it was a Burrowing Owl. 

 

The bird was facing E perched on a small pile of trash piled a little higher than the remainder of the wrack.  It shifted its body 180 degrees when I pulled up alongside it.  It let its right wing droop from time to time, and had its mouth open as if panting.  It remained on the same perch through the 5-minute long observation and was still there when I passed back by again 5 minutes later.    

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15. Description (include only what was actually seen, not what "should" have been seen; include if possible: total length/relative size compared to other familiar species, body bulk, shape, proportions, bill, eye, leg, and plumage characteristics. Stress features that separate it from similar species):

 

A small, squat owl with yellow or yellowish eyes, a whitish face and white brow ridge.  Overall plumage color was a warm brown, with horn or similar color to bill (pale).  Speckling above created by lateral barring, whitish or pale brownish, across dorsal feathering.  Pale bars were narrow, perhaps to 1/3 the width (length, actually) of the intervening bars of ground color.  Primaries projected beyond tail tip.   

 

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16. Voice: None noted 

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17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation):

None from this continent.    

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18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?): Photos, attached.    

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19. Previous experience with this species: Pretty substantial.  Numerous birds in LA over 3 decades, and pretty extensive experience in their western range.    

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20. Identification aids: (list books, illustrations, other birders, etc. used in identification):

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a. at time of observation:

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b. after observation:

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21. This description is written from: memory and stills.    

22. Are you positive of your identification if not, explain: Yes.

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23. Date: 8/31/2011   

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