All posts tagged: burrowing

Environmentalists push to add burrowing owl to endangered list

Environmentalists push to add burrowing owl to endangered list

It’s kind of hard not to be smitten with the burrowing owl. Standing just 9 inches tall and weighing less than a cup of coffee, these owls prefer to live in the ground, where they feed mainly on insects and small rodents, rather than in trees. Their miniature size, feathery floof and comically big eyes give these birds of prey a charisma that captivates the lens of wildlife photographers and the hearts of even the most clinical environmental scientists. “Once you see a burrowing owl, you just fall in love,” said Catherine Portman, president of the Burrowing Owl Preservation Society. But their cuteness hasn’t protected this grassland species from a dangerous decline in population. This month, several wildlife conservation groups petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to list these owls as endangered or threatened under the California Endangered Species Act. Their report cites a 2007 statewide survey that measured an 11% decline in burrowing owls since 1993; although no comprehensive population count has be done since, they point to regional studies that show troubling …