We are so pleased to see one of the NBHCP’s “Covered Species,” the Burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia), back on Conservancy property! Going back 15 years, the owl used to be seen frequently on Conservancy mitigation lands. At the time, we documented too-common depredation of them by dogs from nearby residential areas as well as coyotes. But habitat elimination was and is the toughest battle the gregarious creature endured.
We haven’t seen very many of the species in the Natomas Basin for the past decade and one half. Just today, however, Conservancy field services staff photographed a number of Burrowing owls on Conservancy mitigation land. The owl pictured here is one of the biggest we’ve seen in Natomas.
This winter, we’re having a cooler and foggier weather experience. Is that what brings the owls back? Is it the greatly expanded acreage under the Conservancy’s care? More prey availability? We don’t know for sure.
The Conservancy will simply continue to improve habitat and prey abundance. And hope the delightful experience this year continues into the future.