American Prairie is home to hundreds of species of birds, including the charismatic burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) that makes its seasonal home in our growing prairie dog towns. Weighing in at 5 ounces and only 9 inches tall, adult burrowing owls are surprising attention-grabbers owing to their unique ground-dwelling lifestyle, striking yellow eyes and bob-and-weave behavior.
Montana-based wildlife photographers Jaime and Lisa Johnson visited twice this summer to observe the owls. Their second trip was perfectly timed to witness the emergence of chicks from their burrows, which typically occurs a few weeks after hatching underground. As the chicks grow older and bolder, they begin to venture further from the burrow.
Using a GoPro camera, the Johnsons captured a glimpse of family life in the Sun Prairie region. The footage provides an up-close look at the curious nature of the owls – and a warning to the rest of us. Watch out for your cameras! Kids will be kids.