Burrowing owl population on the decline

Staff ~ The Coronach Triangle News
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Burrowing owls, like the one held by interpreter, Lori Johnson, are on the decline in the province.

MOOSE JAW (TC Media) — he population of Burrowing Owls are on a steady decline in the province, and Nature Saskatchewan is encouraging people to call their Hoot Line, if one is spotted. 

The end of July is a time where Burrowing Owls start to leave the nest and forage for themselves, however, this can be a dangerous time for inexperienced owls. 

They tend to forage in roadside ditches looking for rodents and insects and as a result many are killed by motorists each year. 

“The important thing is to keep your eyes out for them. Watch out on the roads and call in for sightings,” said Ashley Fortney, habitat stewardship coordinator at Nature Saskatchewan. 

The population of the owls have been declining in recent years mainly due to habitat loss and road mortality. 

“If you talk to land owners, a lot of them will say they used to look out in the prairies, and you couldn’t miss seeing one of those ground owls,” said Fortney. 

“Now they’re really rare. It’s really sad.”

Other advice Nature Saskatchewan offers is having people try to maintain the prairies. Currently there is less than 25 per cent of native prairies remaining. 

“Basically for rural land owners, agricultural producers, if we can keep our remaining prairie patches then that’s one way to keep their habitat around, and as a way to keep them around.”

Burrowing Owls are often found nesting in native prairies that has been well grazed to allow them to spot predators. 

 If anyone spots a Burrowing Owl, you can let Nature Saskatchewan

know by calling their  toll-free Hoot Line at  1-800-667-HOOT (4668). 

— Times-Herald

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