Photo: Burrowing owl gives a home tour

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Who (who) needs trees when you can live in an earth-sheltered home?

Behold the wonderful burrowing owl, Athene cunicularia, a counterintuitive member of the owl family that hunts on the ground during the day and lives underground in burrows often borrowed from prairie dogs and ground squirrels. What moxie!

Our photo of the day offers a great glimpse into the burrowing owl's domestic situation, thanks to photographer Don Quintana who took this shot in California's San Luis Obsipo. He used a 500mm+1.4x teleconverter plus a blind. "This allows me the opportunity to give the critters some space to do their thing without being disturbed," he writes. Especially important since the sweet long-legged lovelies have been listed as a Species of Concern in California...

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