Burrowing Owls are of “Least Concern” enlisted on the Conservation status chart, but in the West United States such as Florida and California, they are of high concern.
Both genders are the same size unlike most owls where males are shorter than the females. Burrowing Owls’ size adapts them to their underground lifestyle, they are 7-9 inches tall and weigh only 6 ounces. Though they are so small, their wings aren’t, expanding to a length more than twice the size of them; 21 inches.
Like Barn Owls, they will perch on barns, roads, homes, farms and farm areas. They like to hang around places with short grass and not very many trees, like prairie dog towns and golf courses.
Most owls are nocturnal but these owls are very active during the day. Did you know that the father Canada Goose hisses away predators from their young? Young Burrowing Owls hiss away predators from their nest.
Nesting and Nestlings:
As it says in their name, they nest in burrows. Like most owls which nest in already made nests, the burrowing owl nests in already made burrows that are built by prairie dogs and other mammals. The burrows that they nest in are big (big being an understatement) and can be several meters long. These small owls put their nests next to cow manure so that their nests stay at a steady temperature, this is also used to mask their scent so predators don’t find them.
Usually one Burrowing Owl has only one mate but sometimes there are two. In March through April the breeding season awakens, in which the female will lay an egg every day. Not everyday for the rest of the year, but everyday for more or less than a week, having 4-12 eggs. The eggs have an incubation period for up to a month. After they hatch a month goes by and they make short flights and begin to leave the nest, but only 4-5 nestlings live to leave the nest.
Predators and Prey:
The Badger is the most terrifying and tremendously dangerous predator for the Burrowing Owl. Raptors, Great Horned Owls and foxes are also very dangerous to Burrowing Owls. Read the paragraph bellow called Endangering to find out about more dangers to Burrowing Owls.
Lots of different owls have one or two strange insects or animals which they prey on that we would never guess that they eat. Weather it is skunks or poisonous bugs, in this case, scorpions. Burrowing Owls love to eat scorpions and other little insects, they live in the perfect place do get insects because they live in the ground. They will also eat small mammals and reptiles too, but the biggest prey that they eat are birds. It is strange that the Burrowing Owl will eat other birds because it is so small. The Eared Dove, is a bird that weighs almost as much as a Burrowing Owl does but Burrowing Owls prey on them. Most owls hunt by swooping down to grab rodents. But Burrowing Owls will walk and hop around roadsides or fields to grab their food.
Burrowing Owls are of Least Concern enlisted on the Conservation status chart, but in the West United States such as Florida and California, they are of high concern. Their main problem is destruction that humans to do their burrows. Humans use pesticides in efforts to extinguish prairie dogs, as a result damaging Burrowing Owls’ population and underground burrows. There is one particular organization that is trying to help Burrowing Owls, their website contains facts about wildlife called defenders.org, them and other conservation groups with the same concern petitioned the state of California to enlist owls under California’s Endangered Species Act. Though they were unsuccessful with their petition I very much appreciate what they are doing for the Burrowing Owls.
~I thank the person or persons that wrote the page about Burrowing Owls on Wikipedia. I got this picture from them.
Read more about the Burrowing Owls’ struggles at http://www.oregonwild.org/fish_wildlife/wildlife-pages/burrowing-owl and http://www.defenders.org/burrowing-owl/what-defenders-doing-help