Photo © Rob Curtis


This largely insectivorous owl is unique and very charismatic. It occupies burrows and underground structures built by mammals, mostly either prairie dogs or humans. This owl lives harmoniously with prairie dogs, adding an extra set of watchful eyes against predators in a prairie dog town. It also uses manmade culverts. I remember a burrowing owl in the Dallas/Fort Worth area years ago that attained local fame by using a street gutter under a curb and sidewalk. Lois Balin, TPWD’s urban biologist in El Paso, demonstrates how burrowing owls use artificial burrows made of PVC pipe and other equipment on YouTube.

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