So what exactly is that thing staring at us from a hole in the middle of an open field in Menifee?
Well, it looks exactly like its little friend standing to the side of the hole, perhaps guarding the "nest." These are Western burrowing owls, photographed by Menifee resident Peggy Hughes the other day.
Peggy says she has seen these owls in Menifee fields in the past. According to biologicaldiversity.org, these owls do not live in trees. They make their nests underground, usually in abandoned rodent burrows.
Seen on "every little knoll" around San Diego in the late 1800s, according to the website, the Western burrowing owl's breeding population has been reduced more than 60 percent by the human population explosion.
So the next time you're out hiking and you see some of these creatures, let them be. They need a home just like everybody else. And wouldn't you rather have them around than gophers?
"Menifee in Pictures" is a daily feature on Menifee 24/7. Readers are invited to contribute photos for publication. Email your photos as a .jpg file to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll select one for publication each day, along with your name as the photographer. Please include your full name on the submission and any explanation about where and when the photo was taken. We do not publish photos that have a personalized name signature or any promotional information within the photo.