Burrowing Owl Chicks
This pair live in a burrow not far from our house. It always amazes me how (as I anthropomorphize) it always seems that one looks sweet, and one looks grouchy. I wonder if grouchy is the older, therefore responsible, chick? These guys live very near where solar development is taking place. They hopefully won't be affected by the construction--none of it is close, in plain sight, but they surely hear the equipment. The area was agricultural, so they are probably at least familiar with the sound of tractors.
Burrowing Owls in California are a declining species--and in the Imperial Valley, considered their "stronghold"--they have small clutches of chicks. Instead of 4-8 chicks, they're lucky to raise two. They also don't eat many rodents as compared to other populations, which makes me wonder if the two are connected. The population in the Imperial Valley has declined in the last few years by 25% --is it because of years of poisoning from eating poisoned species (insects, rodents in ag lands) and being sprayed themselves? Is it because their habitat is so extreme--120 degrees during summer months? I'm not sure anyone knows right now, but I have hopes that solar development may help their population as long as it's managed correctly--any owl that lives on a solar facility will no longer be sprayed, and that's gotta be a good thing.