Rocky Mountain Hooters

Burrowing owl chicks on a hunting blind that I use for wildlife photography. Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR, CO Athene cunicularia

My friend Sherry Skipper at Rocky Mountain Arsenal told visitors about this image from the first season that I photographed burrowing owls at the refuge. One of the visitors sent me a note and asked about the shot, so I’m posting it here in response to Katy – and it’s still a fun shot for me. Outdoor Photographer Magazine ran the shot as “Rocky Mountain Hooters” in their Last Frame, and it’s really a result of me showing up late to work. I had spent several weeks with the owls, watching their development from this portable hunting blind. I would arrive in the dark and wait for the chicks to climb out of the natal burrow at first light. The chicks progress toward fledging with wing stretching, bug catching, and short flights in their prairie dog town territory. I showed up a bit late on this particular morning, and the chicks had taken over my blind for a hunting platform, the tallest thing on the prairie. They were ready to fledge, marking the end of my burrowing owl project for the summer.

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