I tend to think of these as golf course owls for some reason. I've been doing a lot of thinking about how public amenities could be adapted to accommodate wildlife and my mind keeps drifting back to the idea of an uber-wildlife friendly golf course (a greening of the greens if you will….). The southern north American version as constructed in my mind always has a few colonies of burrowing owls decorating the rough. Perfect no? Notwithstanding this the Hato el Cedral owls (in the absence of a fictional golf course) have gone for the verges of the various farm tracks as the location of their burrows and we located five or so groups (I'm sure there are more).
For those unfamiliar with these chaps they belong to the same genus (Athene – named for Athena greek goddess of wisdom, peace, warfare, strategy, handicrafts and reason, shrewd companion of heroes and the goddess of heroic endeavour (and fan of owls)) as the little owls and are widespread through southern north America, central and south America – wikipedia offers up a list of 22 subspecies of varying validity. I have these ones down as falling within Athene cunicularia apurensis. These ones tended towards rather small groups although I did wonder if we were seeing a single long colony rather than two different ones a couple of times due to the linear nature of the track habitat. These guys feed on everything from insects and frogs and rodents up to small birds. Wikipedia mentions predation of things as big as Zenaida doves which frankly would be remarkable to see. With that being said I guess it really doesn't pay to make them angry….