western burrowing owl-16feb13
A Western burrowing owl strikes a pose at the Berkeley Marina. Photo: Neil Mishalov

We admit we are suckers for these adorable birds, so when regular Neil Mishalov sent us these two gorgeous pics, it didn’t take long to decide to share them with you, even though it was barely two weeks ago that we published another photo of this beautiful bird.

News of these special birds is spreading. New York Magazine recently included a visit to spot the burrowing owls as an “Insider’s Tip” in its Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan to Berkeley story. (They also recommended checking out Berkeleyside’s Nosh for East Bay food news, a point we couldn’t disagree with.)

A Western burrowing owl displaying a skill for camouflage at the Berkeley Marina. Photo: Neil Mishalov

Western burrowing owls have been designated a “species of special concern” by the state of California, as their population has been declining. Local efforts have helped protect the owls and maintain their presence at César Chávez Park at the Berkeley Marina. Working with Golden Gate Audubon Society, the city erected temporary fencing in 2009 to keep dogs and people out of the owls’ preferred roosting area along the shore. Docents are available at designated times to talk to visitors about the owls.

The owls can often be spotted at the Marina October through early April.

Burrowing owls come out to preen at Berkeley Marina [02.11.13]
Burrowing owls and docents return to Berkeley Park [02.16.12]
How the predatory barn owl became Berkeley’s official bird [01.23.12]
Berkeley owl chick will soon branch out, says expert [04.2612]

Berkeleyside publishes many articles every day. To see all our stories in chronological order, and read ones you may have missed, check out our All the News grid. 

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...