The Breeding Program
The Breeding Facilities
The BC Wildlife park.
There are two breeding facilities for Burrowing Owls in BC. The largest is at the BC Wildlife Park. There are currently 8 pairs of breeding birds located here. In 2003, the owls were introduced to a new breeding facility. The BC Wildlife Park operates and maintains the breeding centre. They also have a well developed Burrowing Owl education program.
The second breeding facility is located at Port Kells in Surrey. It is operated exclusively by volunteers with the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society of BC. Each day our volunteers visit the site to feed clean and care for the owls in their enclosures and to keep records of their progress.
Port Kells breeding centre.
New home, completed April 2005.
A third site, the South Okanagan Breeding Facility, is currently under construction. It will be almost as large as the Port Kells site. It will serve as a home for the growing population of owls being prepared for release. The third site will further protect our small population of owls. In future years, it is very likely that we will be releasing owls back into the South Okanagan grasslands with the support of First Nations and natural land stewards of the region.
South Okanagan breeding centre.
Volunteer work crew during construction of the Port Kells breeding centre.
Burrowing Owls are quite social by nature. In the non-breeding seasons the owls are allowed to intermix and fly freely in their enclosures. Both facilities are constructed so that individual pairs can be separated to their own areas during the breeding season. The female owls use artificial burrows that are built in the facilities. These are designed to allow easy inspection and cleaning. Our care team can also check (carefully) on the progress of the female owl during her incubation and the development of the chicks after hatching.