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Burrowing owls find new home in Mohave County

Article Date: 2009-05-05   Source: http://www.crweekender.com   Comments: 0

Kingman, Arizona, U.S.A. - Thirty-five burrowing owls found new, temporary housing in Mohave County in March, thanks to a coalition of partners spearheaded by Wild At Heart.

Thirty volunteers built five tents and released the owls into them for a one-month acclimatization period to allow the birds to bond to the new location.

The burrowing owl housing event was the 2009 instalment of an effort under way at the site for more than two years and state-wide since 2002.

Plans were to transfer 11 more owls to the site in April after the first group gets used to their new surroundings.

In spring 2007, 650 artificial burrows were built on approximately 20 acres of public land in Hualapai Valley northeast of Kingman. Tents are put over the burrows and the owls are released into them. Owls come from all over Arizona where they have been displaced by development. The project is planned to continue for another eight to 10 years.

Burrowing owl are small, long-legged owls found throughout open landscapes of North and South America. Burrowing owls can be found in grasslands, rangelands, agricultural areas, deserts, or any other dry, open area with low vegetation. They nest and roost in burrows, such as those excavated by prairie dogs.

Unlike most owls, burrowing owls are often active during the day, although they tend to avoid the mid-day heat. Most hunting is still done from dusk until dawn, when their owl abilities are most advantageous.

Burrowing owls have bright yellow eyes. The beak can be between yellowish or greenish, depending on the subspecies. The legs are incompletely feathered and grayish in color. They lack ear tufts and have a flattened facial disc. The owls have prominent white eyebrows and a white ''chin'' patch which they expand and display during certain behaviors.

Adult owls have brown upper parts with white spotting. The breast and belly are white with variable brown spotting or barring. Juvenile owls are similar in appearance, but they lack most of the white spotting above and brown barring below. Also, the young owls have a buff bar across the upper wing and their breast may be buff-colored rather than white.

Males and females are similar in size and appearance. The female bird is darker in color, however. Adult males appear lighter in color because they spend more time outside the burrow during daylight, and their feathers become ''sun-bleached.'' The average adult is slightly larger than an American robin, at 10 inches in length,with a 21-inch wing span, and weighing approximately six ounces.

The coalition of partners involved in the project includes Wild At Heart, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and Bureau of Land Management.

Contributions to the owl resettling project to date exceed $50,000.

Disclaimer: This article has been reproduced from http://www.crweekender.com and placed here for comment. OwlPages.com is not responsible for the accuracy of any information in this article, and does not necessarily agree with the author's opinions.

Related Articles:
2006-08-16 - More owls moving to Mohave by Terry Organ - Kingman, Arizona, U.S.A.
2006-05-22 - Rescue group relocating burrowing owls from work site - Kingman, Arizona, U.S.A.

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