English and Scientific names:

Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia

Number of individuals: 


Locality: Parish 


Specific Locality:

village of Holly Beach

Date(s) when observed:


Time(s) of day when observed:  

Around 9 a.m.; also in early afternoon

Reporting observer and address:

Paul Conover

Lafayette, LA

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

Mac Myers, Dave Patton

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)

Subsequently seen by Tom Finnie, and by the Pontiffs for the Sabine CBC.

Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

Decent. Bright overcast.

Optical equipment: 

Zeiss 10s, Sony Camcorder with 60x optical zoom, Nikon d50 with 200 mm lens.

Distance to bird(s): 

Probably less than 20 feet. We pulled up next to its perch and it seemed unconcerned by our presence.

Duration of observation:

Quite a while. We took our time with a very cooperative bird.


Sparsely vegetated beach within a few hundred yards of the Gulf on the “outskirts” of Holly Beach (which consists of only about a dozen camps since Rita and Ike). The bird was perched in and on large rusty iron pipes, perhaps 1-2 feet in diameter and maybe 20-30 feet long with holes in their sides that allowed access. The insides of the pipes were partly full of sand, and grass was growing in them.

Behavior of bird: 

We spotted it as it sat motionless along side a street. For the most part it kept still, simply bobbing and looking around, sometimes making short flights to other perches.


Typical Burrowing Owl. Small owl, medium brown above, with large white spots giving its back a somewhat scaled appearance. Below somewhat the opposite: Largely white with brown scalloping on belly. Breast more predominantly brownish. Short-winged; wings reached to about tail tip. Domed head with whitish streaking running back onto crown like rays from base of bill. Distinct brow with whitish ridge obscuring top rim of large round yellow eyes with large black pupils. Bill pale, horn-colored. Legs long and bare, pale yellowish or grayish-yellow.


Upright stance, bobbed upped and down, swiveled head a lot.


Not heard.

Similar species:

None in North America that it can be confused with given a fair look.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Yes, quite a few images and a lot of footage.

Previous experience with this species: 

Pretty extensive, with most recent previous looks in the Great Plains last summer (’09). In the past, I had a fair amount experience here in Acadiana.

Identification aids:


This description is written from: 

Memory coupled with images.

Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 



Date and time: