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Displaced burrowing owls

by Steve Bodinet

azfamily.com

Posted on September 11, 2009 at 7:40 PM


As we build our homes throughout the desert, we misplace the homes of others. I'm talking about burrowing owls, the only birds of prey that live underground.

As we build our homes throughout the desert, we misplace the homes of others. I'm talking about burrowing owls, the only birds of prey that live underground.

The little owls are getting pushed out by bulldozers, and they need a hand finding new digs. So WHOOOOO will help? Sorry, I couldn't resist.

WILD AT HEART (480-595-5047) is a non-profit organization that has been helping all kinds of owls for many years. Bob and Sam Fox are angels, and they've donated so much time, money and energy into giving owls a chance as we eat up their territory.

Along with Greg Clark of Burrowing Owl Habitat (480-961-4047) these folks and tons of volunteers have relocated more than 1000 burrowing owls statewide.

Here's how it works:

When a new developement goes in, contractors and anyone else concerned, keep an eagle eye out for our little underground friends. Before they're covered up in their burrows by the big machines, the owls are captured and given lots of TLC at Wild at Heart.

When the right piece of land is found, like the stretch along the New River near 99th ave, volunteers dig deep and long, going down where the temperature stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Then, long pipes and tubes are positioned to lead to snug little burrows. The owls are put in tents over some of these new homes, and after 30 days or so, they're allowed to fly free.

By then, they're used to the area and ready to stay and call it Home Sweet Home. The birds will lay eggs and their baby birds will also stay in the area, giving birth to a new colony of helpful owls. Helpful, because they eat tons of nasty bugs, scorpions, mice and other rodents....all those things we're really not fond of.

The burrowing owls are so fast, they even can catch a bat out of the air and invite it to dinner.
So, here's the deal. Wild at Heart needs volunteers, material and of course, hard cash to keep up the good work.

You've got the phone numbers above and the web site is mirror-pole.com. Why not get in touch, see how you can help and then become a best friend of a displaced burrowing owl? It is hard work, but you can pace yourself and when these little birds are healthy and happy in the new homes you helped build, you're gonna feel oh so good about doing the right thing.

Thanks, and I'll see ya out there.

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