Burrowing owl news from California

This 2014 video from Florida in the USA is called A Rare Glimpse of the Burrowing Owl.

Another video from the USA used to say about itself:

The Burrowing Owl‘s Cozy Home

Bison droppings and prairie dog holes make the perfect home for a family of prairie dwelling burrowing owls.

By Melissa Fraterrigo in the USA:

Giving a Hoot

A partnership between SJSU and local Audubon Society combats climate change.

Three owl chicks hop and flap their wings around a mound of earth. They have brown speckled feathers and their soft warbles can barely be heard amidst the wind and rustling grasses that nearly disguise their petite frames. They look around, squat heads pivoting, eyes yolk-colored and piercing—and then one of the three flaps its wings harder and lifts off. It goes no farther than a few feet before plopping back onto the windswept brush and hopping down into a burrow. This interaction was captured on one of the motion-sensor cameras that monitor a 180-acre burrowing owl habitat near the San José-Santa Clara Wastewater Facility in Alviso. It isn’t easy to learn to fly, and the efforts of these young birds are particularly humbling considering how they came to be.

The burrowing owl is one of 314 birds at “serious risk” of significant declines or even extinction in this century, according to the Birds and Climate Change Report recently released by Audubon. This seminal study found that climate shifts are likely to dramatically alter North America’s bird population by forcing birds to adapt to new habitats with different temperatures if they are to survive. A native to the western prairie, burrowing owls have declined drastically in the Bay Area for the last 30 years. But Lynne Trulio, chair of the environmental studies department, and her former students are working to increase the numbers of these charismatic owls.

Since 2012, Trulio has partnered with the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society (SCVAS) and the city of San José to enhance burrowing owl habitat on city lands, creating nesting habitat for the birds. The project came about after the San José-Clara Water Pollution Control Plant (now the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility) in Alviso wanted to develop hundreds of acres of open land around the plant. The SCVAS encouraged the city to enhance habitat and permanently protect areas for the owls. The city set aside 180 acres, and then hired Trulio and Philip Higgins, ’07 MS Environmental Studies, biologist for the city of Mountain View and one of Trulio’s former students, to craft an owl management plan. “We have research, a nonprofit advocacy group and the city all coming together,” says Trulio.

Two years and many tons of soil later, there are currently five pairs of owls nesting in the area. It is this sort of grassroots conservation that environmental organizations are rarely able to hatch. “This really is the confluence of the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society pressuring the city of San José to do something for burrowing owls, and then the city allowing us to use our academic expertise to write and implement a plan,” explains Trulio.

6 thoughts on “Burrowing owl news from California

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