Focal Species: Burrowing Owl Study Area: Antelope Island State Park, UT Threats:
About the Program
Burrowing Owls are at risk. Utah’s increased development of grassland and prairie environments has left these ground-nesting owls with limited suitable habitats. Burrowing Owls are considered Species of Special Concern in much of the American West and considered Endangered in Canada. These population declines indicate that the Burrowing Owl needs more attention to prevent further decreases in numbers. Antelope Island offers a sanctuary to these birds in a constantly urbanizing landscape. The staff of the park, however, began to notice that the owls’ burrows were being crushed under the weight of roaming bison. As a solution, the park brought in partners to install artificial burrows resilient to bisons’ treading. After learning that the park lost their partner who had access to a banding permit, HawkWatch Internationa took on the Burrowing Owl project in 2020. Currently, our team monitors 50 burrows across the park. HWI is responsible for maintaining the burrows and monitoring populations during the breeding season with observational and banding data
Future of the Program
Going forward, we are expanding the project by color banding the resident Burrowing Owls. This will help our team and community scientists resight birds more easily. As a result, we hope to learn more about the survivability and movement of these birds.
Looking for More Information?
Here’s How You Can Help
Be Aware of Nests: If you see a Burrowing Owl’s home, please give the birds space. Approaching the nest can stress birds and cause them to abandon their nest.