Fun, Fun Fun!!

Fun, Fun Fun!!

Monday, April 28, 2008 - Wild Life

We have lots of prairie dogs and burrowing owls in this area.

Prairie Dogs are the most social members of the squirrel family and are closely related to ground squirrels, chipmunks and marmots. Prairie dogs have an intricate social system composed of one male and several close-kin females and their offspring. Populations vary from 5 to 35 per acre. The prairie dog digs its own burrows, called "towns." There is a well-constructed and frequently reinforced dike against flooding from sudden rains. The entrance holes themselves are funnel-shaped, from 3 to 4 inches in diameter.

One litter is born to the prairie dog female each year. During a 4 or 5 hour estrus, a female prairie dog may mate with as many as 5 different males, allowing pups from the same litter to have different fathers. The white-tailed which are the kind in this area mates in March or April, with the young being born in May. There are usually 3 to 5 youngsters in a litter, but sometimes as many as 8. The young are blind and hairless. Their eyes don't open for 33 to 37 days. At about 6 weeks, they begin to appear above ground and are ready to be weaned. They probably separate from the mother by early fall.

Burrowing owls nest and roost in burrows, such as those excavated by prairie dogs. Unlike most owls, burrowing owls are often active during the day, although they tend to avoid the mid-day heat. Most hunting is still done at dusk or at night.
The nesting season begins in late March or April in North America. Burrowing owls are usually monogamous, but occasionally a male will have two mates. Pairs of owls will sometimes nest in loose colonies. Their typical breeding habitat is open grassland or prairie, but they can occasionally adapt to other open areas like airports, golf courses, and agricultural fields. Burrowing owls are slightly tolerant of human presence, often nesting near roads, farms, homes, and regularly maintained irrigation canals.

They are very entertaining and I love to watch them. When we 1st arrived in Pueblo we rented a house and we had lots of both in the back yard. Unfortunately the area where our house is located now has too much shale (a dark fine-grained sedimentary rock composed of layers of compressed clay, silt, or mud) for them to borrow in. We see them around and I took a picture of the owls. It is hard to get pictures of the prairie dogs because they hide, but I downloaded one.

Today being Monday and a work day not much to report. We were suppose to have a showing today, but I haven't heard anything yet and no signs that anyone showed up as no business card was left.

For dinner we grilled chicken breasts and I made some pasta with butter and parmesan cheese and vegetables.

We wish everyone a good week.

See you down the road.

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