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An Eye on Wildlife

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A Burrowing Owl in the Boroughs

July 7, 2019

A Burrowing Owl in the Boroughs

- as seen by -

Jen Kepler Jen Kepler

I am always looking at birds, even when I’m not birding.

Pulling into a parking lot for horseshoe crab monitoring, I see a bird that does not register in my mental Rolodex™ of local birds. With a very suave turn of its head, our eyes lock, and I immediately recognize this mega-rarity, a burrowing owl. It is just sitting on a fence post at a construction site in Broad Channel, Queens, New York.

I experience a wide range of excitement and emotions seeing this bird for the first time ever in the wild, and it is here in New York City just a few feet from me in the most unlikely of places. It is another reminder of why birding is a pipeline to discovery and adventure, especially when I get to find possibly the seventh record of this bird in all of New York state.

Nikon D5100, Nikkor 200-500mm Lens

Queens, USA Map It


Leave a Comment


Denise McClean
July 12, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Congratulations on such a significant spotting. And what an incredible image too!

Jennifer A. Morrissy
September 3, 2020 at 10:45 pm

Today September 3rd, 2020, sitting in my Ossining, New York apartment kitchen, that is to say, in a suburb about 35 miles north of NYC, I heard, twice, the distinct sound of a rattle snake coming from an open window. It was quite frightening. My apartment is just a bit above ground level and I wondered is there an insect that sounds like a rattlesnake, googled it and came up with the Burrowing Owl, who can make this sound. It’s night time so I really can’t see what’s out there but I’d prefer to think it’s this unusual species of owl rather than a rattlesnake.