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Burrowing Owl – Reflections of the Natural World

By Jim Gain

Learn 100 Common Valley Birds is a photo blog series highlighting the 100 most common Valley bird species.

Post #19 in the Learn 100 Common Valley Birds series. (Species 27/100)

Burrowing Owl #27

The Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) is a small, ground-dwelling owl that is native to North and South America. In the Central Valley of California, Burrowing Owls can be found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, agricultural fields, and urban areas. They are easily recognized by their long legs, short tails, and small size, typically measuring between 7-10 inches in length and weighing around 6 ounces.

Burrowing Owls get their name from the habit of building their nests in abandoned rodent tunnels, which they frequently adorn with grasses and feathers to make a plush interior. They are mostly active throughout the day, and it’s common to see them perched on fence posts or other high places as they search the area for prey. Their diet consists mainly of insects, small rodents, and other small animals.

Burrowing Owls face a number of threats in the Central Valley, including habitat loss due to development and agriculture, as well as predation by domestic and feral cats. Conservation efforts, such as the creation of artificial burrows and the implementation of predator control programs, have helped to stabilize some populations. Overall, the Burrowing Owl is an important and fascinating species that plays an important role in the ecology of the Central Valley.

Previous posts from the Learn 100 Common Valley Birds series:

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