At first, The Hidden Life of the Burrowing Owl seems to be an animated nature film, explaining the life and ecology of its subject. But after the cartoon turns tragic, it becomes clear that you don't want to mess with this burrowing owl.

Animator Mike Roush wrote and directed this mix of animation and photography, which is effective as the short film moves from, "Aww, that's cute" to "Holy crap, that owl isn't messing around."

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[via Vimeo Staff Picks]