INTRODUCTIONThe Burrowing Owls have many unique features. They have long legs for their short body. The owls make many sounds. Their habitat is the grasslands. Their nest is a burrow with glossy white eggs. These animals may live many places in North America and South America. Burrowing Owls have exceptional hearing.
DESCRIPTIONThe Burrowing Owl is a small ground dwelling bird with a round head and no ear tuffs. They have white eyebrows, yellow eyes, and long skinny legs. The owl is sandy colored on the head, back, and upper parts of the wing. It is white on its chest and belly. The young owls are brown on the head; back wings and mouth to adult plumage their first summer. They grow to be 9 inches tall and weigh 6-8 ounce.
Burrowing Owls are easy to see because they are active in the daylight. Its name “Curicularia” is Latin for miner. The Burrowing Owl is also commonly known as the ground owl, prairie dog owl, and gopher owl.
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The Burrowing Owl feeds on insects, small rodents, lizards and birds. It hovers while hunting. After catching its pray it returns to a perch no a fence post or the ground. Burrowing Owls will hunt throughout a 24-hour period, but are most active at dusk and dawn.
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The Burrowing Owl can make more than seventeen vocalizations. The main sound is made only by adult males when they are near a burrow and want to attract a female. This sound is a two-syllable “who-who.” The male makes this call also for breeding and to defend his territory. Once a female comes, both the male and female make different sounds at each other. Other sounds made by the Burrowing Owl have been called the “rasp” the “chuck” the “chatter” and the “scream.” The owlets give a rattlesnake-like “buzz” when threatened in the burrow.
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The Burrowing Owl is a ground dweller. They need prairie like terrain with low vegetation, deep soil for burrowing mammals that dig burrows, and a good food supply. They eat insects and small mammals for food. Burrowing Owls are well adapted to grazed range lands, and find croplands less suitable.
The Burrowing Owl’s nesting season spans from late March or during April. The Burrowing owl nests underground, and lays from six to twelve white eggs. The male owl brings food to the female owl during the period of when the eggs are hatching. He also stands guard over her and the nest during the day the eggs hatch. The eggs hatch in about fourteen days and the young leave the nest in about forty-four days.
The Burrowing Owl lives in most of the Americas. They live in the SW and the NW and South America. It lives in almost all of Mexico. The Burrowing Owl also lives in the SW, Florida and the Caribbean. It breeds in the NW and spends its winter in Louisiana and Texas.
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The Burrowing Owl has many, interesting special features. The Burrowing Owl has been on the Canadian Species at Risk List since 1978 when it was classified as threatened. Adult Burrowing Owls will eat up to half of their own body weight in food per day. It is not known where “Canadian” Burrowing Owls go for the winter. In some areas, Burrowing Owls are doing very well, but across Canada their numbers are declining. Nest boxes for Burrowing Owls have been used successfully in research and mitigation projects. About 60 percent of Burrowing Owl flights happen within 50 meters of the nest. Burrowing Owls require short grass for nesting and taller grass within 600 meters of their nest for hunting. In the late 1970’s there were about 2,100 breeding pairs in Canada. By 1987, the population had dropped by half, with 700 pairs remaining in Alberta. After continued decline, Burrowing Owl’s status was upgraded from threatened to endangered in 2000.
The owls are mainly brown. The Burrowing Owls makes many strange sounds. The Burrowing Owls have their habitat as the prairie. The Burrowing Owls can be found many places in the Americas. The Burrowing Owls live approximately nine years in the wild and ten years in captivity. The Burrowing Owls are very different from any other owl.
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