So many birds are having population declines. Burrowing owls suffer from all of the habitat loss and environmental poisons that other birds do, but have a couple big additional factors. Unlike many birds, Burrowing Owls have habits just like ground squirrels and other burrowing mammals that people like to kill for sport. I have found Burrowing Owls shot on their nesting burrows by these ‘sportsmen’.
Much of their remaining habitat is near roads. Not only does this give ‘sportsmen’ easy access, but it also exposes the owls to direct mortality from automobile collisions. This photo was taken near a nesting burrow that was at the intersection of two busy roads, it was common to find the young owls dead on the road. Eventually the burrow fell into disuse – either they all got killed or the adults realized that the burrow was a poor place to raise a bunch of kids.
Read the book ‘Hoot’ to your kids. Go look for some owls.