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Protecting the Western Burrowing Owl

The Burrowing owl is a small, brown and white barred owl that stands 8-10 inches tall. Burrowing owls may be present in any areas with ground squirrel burrows or artificial burrows on flat ground, hillsides or low embankments. 

During nesting season in the Spring (February 1 through August 31), male owls decorate their mates’ nest burrows with animal dung, paper, dry grass and other debris.  Females may lay between 6 and 11 white eggs which they incubate underground for about 28 days. The young are fed by both parents until they are able to fly and forage independently.  Burrowing Owls show strong site fidelity and may return to the same burrow over a period of several years.  

The Burrowing Owl is a "Species of Special Concern," and is protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which prohibits the "taking of active nests, eggs, young or adults."  In addition, the owl is protected under the Fish and Game Code, Sections 3503, 3503.5, 3513, and 3800.  The A survey is conducted within 30 days of construction for any California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) project to determine if owls are foraging or nesting on or adjacent to the project site.  To protect the low-flying Burrowing owl and other species at Shoreline, we ask that you please observe the 25 mph speed limit when driving through the park.  In addition, be sure to stay on pathways when observing the birds from afar.  The best time of the day to observe the species is during early morning and early evening hours when they actively hunt by running, pouncing and hovering over prey.  Thank you again for using caution when observing the charming, Western Burrowing owl!