The New BC Program
In 1990, a new strategy was planned. Burrowing Owls would be raised in breeding facilities located at Kamloops and Vancouver. Once they were mature the owls would be released to the wild. To compensate for the disappearance of burrowing mammals a network of artificial burrows would provide their living conditions at first. Released owls would then breed and raise their young naturally. It is hoped that over time the released birds and their young will recognize the BC sites as home breeding range. Eventually a sustainable population would be re-established in British Columbia. The Burrowing Owl Recovery Program is the first and longest sustained program of its kind in North America. Over the years we have developed expertise and understanding of Burrowing Owl behaviour:
- Improved captive breeding success
- Locating the best release habitats and protocols
- Refining the artificial burrow design and layouts in the field
- Improving field studies to learn about the life histories of the owls
THE KEY ELEMENTS OF THE BC RECOVERY PROGRAM
THE NEW RECOVERY IMPLEMENTATION PLAN
- The BC Recovery Goal is to establish viable populations of at least ten pairs at four separate locations.
- The recovery approach for Burrowing Owls in British Columbia focuses on the production of young owls from a captive breeding stock and their release as yearlings into suitable habitat where artificial burrows have been installed.
- The success of the program requires three coordinated efforts:
- captive breeding programs
- releases and associated activities including research and monitoring
- Identify important habitat features for nesting and foraging for owls
- Work with landowners concerning the habitat trends that may influence or affect Burrowing Owls