What is a Burrowing Owl?
A Burrowing Owl is a
small ground-dwelling Owl with a round head and no ear
tuffs. They have white eyebrows, yellow eyes and long
legs. The Owl is sandy colored on the head, back and
upper parts of the wings. Burrowing Owls are easy to see
because they are often active in daylight, and are bold
and approachable. The females are usually darker than the
The main call of a
Burrowing Owl is mainly given by the adult males when
near the burrow to attract a female. A who-who is given
at the entrance of a promising burrow. This call is also
associated with breeding and territory defense. They also
make other sounds, which are described as chuck, chatter
and scream. These sounds are usually accompanied by a
bobbing of the head up and down.
Burrowing Owls feed on a variety of prey. They feed
on things such as beetles, grasshoppers, small mammals,
especially mice, rats and ground squirrels. Unlike other
Owls, they also eat fruits and seeds, especially the
fruit of Tesajilla and prickly pear cactus.
The nesting season begins
in late March or April. Burrowing Owls are usually
monogamous but occasionally a male will have 2 mates.
Burrowing Owls nest underground in abandoned burrows dug
by mammals or if soil conditions allow, they will dig
their burrows. These burrows are usually found in open
and dry grasslands. Adults usually return to their burrow
Burrowing Owls are able to
live for at least 9 years in the wild and over 10 years
in captivity. They are often killed by vehicles when
crossing roads, and have many natural enemies, including
snakes, cats and dogs.
FAU earned the Fighting Owl role
The FAU campus was
designated a burrowing owl sanctuary in 1971 by the
Audubon Society. The Owl came here because there are not
many predators, other than cats, near an airport. The
feisty bird, traditionally associated with wisdom and
determination, serves as the University’s