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Burrowing Owl

Athene cunicularia


As in the photos...this is a smaller-sized owl, with long legs, who live in burrows dug by other animals including prairie dogs and desert tortoises.


Those in the photo were living in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. They are a species of "special concern" in the southwest, with their numbers declining due to loss of habitat, mainly by development, especially in urban areas. In both Arizona and Nevada, as land is developed, it is required that authorities be notified before development starts if burrowing owls are present.


There are a number of groups, including Boy Scouts and Wild at Heart, who rescue burrowing owls from threatened areas, and relocate them to safer environments. I was fortunate to be able to assist in constructing burrows for the owls who are being relocated. Those pictured were rescued from an an area to be developed, and are in a holding facility for relocation this coming spring to newly-constructed burrows in safer areas.

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DanielePralong 6 years ago

Great news Jim :-)

Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson 6 years ago

Wow! Thanks Daniele, and all who commented! We just finished our monitoring of Burrowing Owls for 2017 in Nevada. The burrow we monitored produced 4 fledglings who reached adult stage and left on their own. Be safe, guys!

Felix Fleck
Felix Fleck 6 years ago

Congrats, Jim! Awesome spotting.

KostasZontanos 6 years ago

Congratulations Jim!

triggsturner 6 years ago

Congrats Jim. Great work being done!

DanielePralong 6 years ago

Congratulations Jim, we've chosen these rescued Burrowing Owls as our Spotting of the Day to highlight International Owl Awareness Day!



Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson 8 years ago

Thanks Armadeus!

armadeus.4 8 years ago

Wow! I am so pleased to know so much is being done for these little critters! I never even heard about them until your spotting Jim!!! Thank you for all of the information and for sharing such a wonderful experience :)

Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson 8 years ago

Thanks, Ashley, for the nomination and advice. An update on these guys...Wild at Heart is scheduling release into tents next month, which will be pitched over the burrows constructed last November. This allows the owls to set up 'housekeeping' in the burrows over a period of about a month. In March, the tents will be removed, and the owls will be free to go back to their wild ways from their new, safer base. I am proud to be a part of this project! These birds need as much help as we can give.

AshleyT 8 years ago

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

Ava T-B
Ava T-B 8 years ago

Nice work with the relocation! And such cute little guys!

The MnMs
The MnMs 8 years ago

Exciting opportunity and beautiful young ones!

Jim Nelson
Spotted by
Jim Nelson

Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Spotted on Nov 8, 2015
Submitted on Nov 9, 2015

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