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Burrowing owls struggle as development gobbles up their habitat

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, August 11th, 2011 at 6:03 am in Burrowing owls.

Burrowing owl with eye injury. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
1burrowing owl dave harper oakley

Burrowing owls are struggling as development advances. Here is a photo of an unfortunate burrowing owl that has an eye injury. I would love to catch this character and take her to the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek. Perhaps if it becomes weak enough to catch I may try.
Dave Harper, Oakley, California

Burrowing owls live in unused ground squirrel burrows. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
1burrowing owl2 dave harper oakley

I agree on the “struggling” burrowing owls. They need open space areas, filled with unused ground squirrel burrows where they like to live. Only problem is … the County Agriculture Dept. folks don’t like ground squirrels, or the other smaller rodents that burrowing owls like to prey on, so they usually poison them … and we humans like to build things in those open spaces. PRESTO! No places for the burrowing owls to live or find food.

In the process of swooping down to catch rodents, birds of prey sometimes crash into things. That’s probably how this little burrowing owl injured its eye. Hopefully it will heal, otherwise, the use of only one eye can interfere with the owl’s ability to perceive depth when it is diving after its prey, causing more crashing problems. Please keep an eye on it. If it has trouble catching food and weakens, do try to catch it and take it to the museum, where their wildlife veterinarian can check it out, patch it up and hopefully return it to the wild. Thanks for caring. /Gary

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3 Responses to “Burrowing owls struggle as development gobbles up their habitat”

  1. Dave Harper Says:

    Hi Gary, I have been back and witnessed the small owl living its life. the bird was in decent shape and un catchable for someone like myself. its been a few weeks and I should return again. I was at Lindsay museum today with a Anns’s humming bird. The work they perform there is outstanding. It is a great place to make donations and a good feeling knowing they are so dedicated. Dave

  2. Beth Says:

    Hi Dave, If you are not physically able to try to catch the owl and it is in need of help you could try contacting Wild Rescue at 866-WILD-911. They are a wonderful group of people who would be able to come out and help with rescuing the bird. The number is a pager that can be called 24 hours a day.

    Please check out the website and pass the word along.

  3. Diane S Says:

    Dave – Thank you for bringing this to the attention of the public. Albany has been so anxious to develop their ‘waterfront’ along the frontage road of the East Shore Freeway that they are disrupting the wildlife, including these burrowing owls. Granted they fenced off a part of the Albany bulb with the hope of encouraging the owls to reside there. I haven’t heard whether that was successful. I’m torn – soccer fields or natural habitat? I think the Bay Area’s beauty is in its open space.

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