On Valentines day of 2018, we received a burrowing owl patient found in the middle of Road on Butterfield Ave in Morgan Hill. She had a very badly injured left wing. We got her into immediate vet care at the specialists For The Birds in Los Gatos. Although we intensively tried to treat her injuries, her wing had to be amputated to save her life. Although we would have loved to return her to her home, without a wing, she would stand no chance of surviving on her own out in the wild. Late in 2018, Terra officially joined WERCs educational ambassador team.
Burrowing Owl Facts
Measurements: Length 7-10” Wingspan 21.6” Weight avg. 5.3oz (150 g)
Range: Migratory in northern part of range; partial migrant in south western states, where individuals make yearly decisions whether or not to migrate.
Nesting: Nesting owls tend to use areas with a high density of surrounding burrows, which may provide extra escape options for developing young. Preferred nesting areas have loose soil, a bit of elevation to avoid flooding, and nearby lookouts such as dirt mounds, bushes, fence posts, or road signs. They use burrows dug by prairie dogs, ground squirrels, badgers, marmots, skunks, armadillos, kangaroo rats, and tortoises. Both members of a pair enlarge and maintain the existing burrow by digging with their beaks and kicking back soil with their feet. 35-42 days; one brood per year
Life Expectancy in the wild: 8-9 years
Habitat: Open areas with good vantage points to perch; a lot like the habitat listed above
Diet: Typically small invertebrates like insects. Some small vertebrates like lizards, birds and mammals.
Voice: Burrowing owls are capable of making a variety of noises, but are not especially vocal unless being threatened.
Interesting Facts: Burrowing Owls have a higher tolerance for carbon dioxide than other birds—an adaptation found in other burrowing animals, which spend long periods underground, where the gas can accumulate to higher levels than found above ground.