Burrowing Owl Project
The Burrowing Owl has been declining in population since the late 1970s and was listed as endangered in 1992. The declining population is due to the loss of habitat, environmental contaminants and increased predation. The Manitoba Burrowing Owl Recovery program began in 2009 with the goal of re-establishing a self-sustaining Burrowing Owl population in Manitoba.
Throughout Turtle Mountain Conservation District there have been several sites where artificial nest burrows have been set up to release captive owls. The artificial nest burrows consist of a piece of weeping tile leading down to a buried five gallon pail that serves as the den. These are placed in a 12’x12’ cage in native pastures in southwest Manitoba. Young owls are raised throughout the summer in these dens with some being brought back to stay at Assiniboine Park Zoo while some are released into the wild. Through this soft release process it is hoped that the released owls will return to the areas where they were released and thus increase population in Manitoba. By having these artificial nest burrows on local landowners pastures and grasslands it helps to increase awareness about the importance of maintaining the native prairie and other factors that will aid in the Owl’s recovery. If you have Burrowing Owls on your property please contact your local Conservation District. You can also learn more about the Manitoba Burrowing Owl Recovery Program at www.mborp.ca.