On the Conservancy’s Silva tract preserve, there exists a large concrete slab that served as part of a feeder trough for a now-defunct dairy operation. While burrowing owls come and go, they were often seen spending the season peeping out from underneath this concrete feeding trough. The concrete represented a favored burrow location for the owls, probably because it provided burrows with a built-in, non-collapsing roof. However, we worried when seeing chewed-on bones and feathers adjacent to the burrowing owl holes underneath the concrete. We suspected that coyotes waited on top of the concrete for a burrowing owl to emerge, at which time the owl became a meal.
Now, something truly ominous has occurred. The Conservancy keeps goats on the site to graze down vegetation so that burrowing owls and Swainson’s hawk can see predators and to access prey. A member of the Conservancy’s field crew recently witnessed a kid goat attacked by a badger (we’ve confirmed a badger exists at the site) and then be dragged by the badger into a burrow underneath the slab.
At least now we know that it may not be the coyotes that have hit the burrowing owls. We also know about the disappearance of kid goats.
Before, we had thought the losses were attributable to theft. This gives me the creeps.