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WildLens Eyes on Conservation

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WildLens Eyes on Conservation Lauren Meads

Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia) are a small (150-180 g) species of owl that nests in the natural grasslands of North and South America.

They live in burrows that are first constructed by other burrowing mammals; in BC these mammals are usually badgers and ground squirrels. They are the only owl that nests in the ground, hence their name “burrowing.”

When they first establish a burrow, they remodel the inside by kicking out old dirt.

Sadly, these charismatic owls have been disappearing throughout their range over the last 30 years. In Canada they are listed as Red-Listed (meaning endangered), and in British Columbia they were deemed extirpated in the early 1980s.

There are several potential reasons for declines in Burrowing Owl populations: loss of habitat due to land development, loss of prey species (rodents, grasshoppers), possibly due to agriculture spraying; and the loss of burrowing animals (badgers, ground squirrels, marmots) to dig the holes Burrowing Owls live in. These factors combined with climate changes make this a complex multi-level conservation issue.

Read More at Wild Lens Burrowing Owls of BC

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We are a non-profit society concerned about the conservation of species and habitats in BC.

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