B.O. for burrowing owls; one of the NBHCP “Covered” species)
We are pleased that the enhancement the Conservancy did in its Central Basin Reserve Area for the benefit of burrowing owls has paid off, and the evidence of this is huge this year. This may be a banner year for the burrowing owl, one of my favorite species that use the Conservancy’s preserves. These little guys are playful, cute and beautiful, at least in my opinion.
The bad news is that over the weekend, Conservancy field crews say that trespassers were actually shooting at the burrowing owls. Let’s hope they were poor shots. We called the game warden for the area, but staffing is low and crime is up, so it is difficult to address this matter in effective ways. Anyone with ideas? Call me!
But more about the good news. This is a preserve area where the Conservancy mounded up about 4,000 cubic yards of dirt a few years ago for the benefit of the burrowing owls. The idea was to use the gleanings from a nearby field leveling exercise and use the gleanings (surplus soil) to build mounds that we thought would be ideal for burrowing owl habitat. We built the mounds up high, with a steep face. We have coordinated with–and gotten excellent cooperation from–the Natomas Central Mutual Water Company in maintaining the area during non-nesting season so as not to disturb nesting chicks. It’s worked and worked very well.
A simple solution, but it is shown to be one of the best “adaptive management” tools we’ve ever done.