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San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge Artificial Owl Burrows Still Productive
Southwest Region, August 12, 2010
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Burrowing Owl Perched Near San Bernardino NWR HQ Site.  Photo by Christie Van Cleve, 6/8/2009, San Bernardino NWR, Cochise County, AZ
Burrowing Owl Perched Near San Bernardino NWR HQ Site. Photo by Christie Van Cleve, 6/8/2009, San Bernardino NWR, Cochise County, AZ - Photo Credit: n/a

In 2007, San Bernardino NWR partnered with Wild at Heart, a wildlife rescue organization, to provide a location for burrowing owls displaced by urban development.  Thirteen owls were released that first year, 6 mating pairs, and one bachelor.  None of the original owls has been seen since the end of that first year, but the artificial burrows that were created have not gone to waste.  In 2008 and 2009, no formal surveys were conducted, but general observations showed that there were owls that wintered at the site and that there were breeding pairs during the spring.  In 2010, Refuge staff started a formal survey.  Over the course of the spring and summer, surveys were conducted weekly.  What was observed were three possible nesting sites and several "bachelor" sites.  Staff hoped that they would get a look at the fledglings, however they seemed to have been outsmarted by the young owls who got away without being seen.  There are several other sites in Cochise County, Arizona, that burrowing owls have been released and the San Bernardino NWR site is one of the few that has maintained a viable population without additional releases.


Contact Info: Christopher Lohrengel, 520-364-2104 x.106, chris_lohrengel@fws.gov



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