40 day old owl with juvenile plummage.
Separate enclosures are opened up in the late summer. Birds are kept together over the fall and winter at the breeding facilities.
For most animals the first year is always the hardest. Young birds in the wild face many hardships and the lack of experience results in many of the birds dying in their first year due to predation, starvation and disease. The owls that are raised in our program have a better opportunity for survival as they will grow stronger and develop many of the basic “life skills” in their first year while in captivity.
Burrowing owls are very social birds. While many of their hunting and survival skill are instinctive, they also benefit from the contact with other birds during this first year of development.
The young owls are social birds.
The owls are treated as wild birds throughout their first year. The only direct human contact is for sexing the birds, routine physical health checks and transfers of birds prior to the breeding season.
The large design and layout of the flyways and the abundance of artificial burrows allow the birds to build up their physical strength in the weeks and months leading up to their release to the wild.
Our program volunteers can observe the birds at a distance and evaluate condition without interference.
Burrowing owls are instinctive and efficient hunters. While some training with live prey is done before their release, the owls are very capable of finding their prey upon their return to the wild.