They said it can’t be done. They said it can’t work. And four years later Burrowing Owls are still proving them wrong. Fifty miles east of San Francisco there’s a 24-acre grassland island sandwiched between houses and a community center. Throw in a few adjacent roads and a high school across the street and I think you’re beginning to see a picture of a small preserve in the heart of suburbia that’s offering sanctuary to an owl that lives underground. It’s the eastern edge of the Bay Area and life, you could say, has been rather turbulent for this little raptor as it struggles to retain habitat in the path of sprawl. And that’s what makes this news and this place so special.
The Prewett Family Park Burrowing Owl Habitat Preserve in Antioch is more than protected land for an imperiled species. It’s a location where we teach kids about ecosystems, host field trips for after school organizations and home school groups, promote Burrowing Owl conservation, and showcase successful, innovative solutions that can be applied to communities across the Bay Area, California and nation. In fact, with interpretive signs weeks away from installation and plans to incorporate a museum-quality diorama in the adjacent community center (check out our recently launched social media campaign to enhance our education efforts), we are building incredible community value and fostering wildlife stewardship. We can’t wait to replicate this project in other communities!
So, without further ado, let’s talk baby owls.
On the evening of June 7th, 10 adult and 26 juvenile Burrowing Owls were observed across the preserve. According to the surveying biologist,
“The number of juveniles is the most I’ve seen out there, and it’s most likely a conservative estimate since other juveniles may have been underground.”
In total, five separate “family groups” (juveniles plus one or more adults) were observed, confirming that at least five pairs successfully nested on the preserve this year.
“Basically, it’s been a really good year for owls out there!”
And taking the advice of Seinfeld to always leave on a high note…enough said.
Juvenile Burrowing Owls – Antioch
Adult Burrowing Owl - Winter 2012