This form is intended as a convenience in reporting observations of species on the Louisiana Bird Records Committee (LBRC) Review List. The LBRC recommends the use of this form or a similar format when submitting records for review (to assure that all pertinent information is accounted for). Attach additional pages as necessary. Please print or type. Attach xerox of field notes, drawings, photographs, or tape recordings, if available. Include all photos for more obscurely marked species. When completed, mail to Secretary, Louisiana Bird Records Committee, c/o Museum of Natural Science, 119 Foster Hall, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803-3216.

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

2. Number of individuals, sexes, ages, general plumage (e.g., 2 in alternate plumage): 1, presumed adult “Northern” or “Western” form (hypugaea).

3. Locality: Parish:   ___Catahoula_________________________________________

   Specific Locality: ____Louisiana Delta Plantation farm land along the road that runs east-west across the northern part of the farm.

4. Date(s) when observed: December 28, 2012

5. Time(s) of day when observed: Late morning and early afternoon. First seen at 10:49 am. Longer observation from 12:31 pm to 12:40 pm.

6. Reporting observer and address: Jonathan Clark. PO Box 703, Jena, LA 71342. 


7. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s): none

8. Other observers who independently identified the bird(s): none in the field. See 'Identification aids'.

9. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light): Overcast. Unobstructed view and at close range.

10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition): Bushnell binoculars, 10x42, Good condition.

11. Distance to bird(s): 25 to 100 feet.

12. Duration of observation: 1 minute at first pass (10:49 am.). 9 minutes at second pass (12:31 pm to 12:40 pm).

13. Habitat: Open, mostly muddy off-season crop land in an alluvial plain setting. The bird was beside an open-ended irrigation pipe adjacent to a low levee that divides two fields. This was just a few yards south of the gravel road I was driving.

14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation (flying, feeding, resting; include and stress habits used in identification; relate events surrounding observation):

  When aggravated too much by my presence the bird would fly a short distance away, land, bob its upper body, and emit a call that I recorded in my notes as a hoarse “chwerf”. When in flight there appeared to be rufous [in wings?].

   I was participating in the Catahoula NWR CBC when the sighting occurred. The bird, which was standing on the ground, was first spotted with the naked eye as I was driving west on the northern most drivable east-west road across the farm. The bird was fairly close when I spotted it and was immediately recognizable. I stopped and tried to get a few photos. They were blurry, and the bird flew away along the low levee perpendicular to the road. I decided to drive on and continue birding the road as planned, as I would be turning around and coming back because I knew part of that usual route would be too muddy in these conditions. When I returned the owl was back by the pipe as I’d hoped it would be. I was watching for it as I approached and so was prepared this time. I managed to get some close photographs, the best ones once I drove past the bird without spooking it and got out and approached on foot. 


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): Smallish terrestrial owl with relatively long legs and no ear tufts. Most striking feature was the intense yellow eyes. Overall plumage pattern; medium brown above with numerous whitish spots, whitish below with numerous brown markings that were densest on the sides of the breast. Light brown/whitish facial disc with dark lower border and whitish “collar” below that. Conspicuous white “eyebrows”.

16. Voice: a hoarse/harsh call (alarm call?) that I described as “chwerf”.

17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation): I had a good look at it, so there wasn’t any confusion during the observation. The bird was in an unlikely place for other owls, except perhaps Barn Owl and Short-eared Owl. The bird, which was smaller than either of those two species, was brown above with numerous white or whitish spots, and whitish below with numerous brown bars. The eyes were yellow, unlike the Barn Owl’s eyes. The owl seemed at home on the ground.

   The description of the plumage could sound somewhat like a Barred Owl, though this bird had yellow eyes, was too small, and was standing on the ground in open farmland a long way away from the nearest sizable trees.

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

19. Previous experience with this species: This was my first time seeing this species.

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

a. at time of observation: none.

b. after observation: I was confident of the bird’s identity, but I always like to be thorough when dealing with rarities that I’ve not seen in the field before, and consult field guides or other resources. As always, I like to consult Sibley’s guide, which I did that evening after birding. I also have looked at images online. I’ve shared the photographs with fellow birders Beth Willis and Tom Pollock, both of whom agree that the bird is a Burrowing Owl.

21. This description is written from: _____ notes made during the observation (_____notes attached?);___Using notes shared in my email with count compiler Marty Floyd written up the day after the observation, which were based on the notes made during the observation.__notes made after the observation (date:__12/29/12___); ___some from memory, to expound upon what was in the notes.__memory.

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

23. Date:___3/4/2014_______Time:__3:45 pm_____