Burrowing Owl

Athene cunicularia Order: Strigiformes Family: Strigidae (Owls)
Athene cunicularia Order: Strigiformes Family: Strigidae (Owls)

This tiny owl, related to the Little Owl of Europe, nests in prairie dog tunnels and other animal burrows, culverts, and other crevices in open habitat in the West. Oddly enough, as with scrub jays, there is also a completely separate population in Florida. As with other animals that spend time in underground burrows, Burrowing Owls have a higher tolerance for CO2 than non-burrowing species.

In most owls, females are significantly larger than males, but male and female Burrowing Owls are the same size. Also unlike most owls, males and females have strict separation of duties during nesting. If a female disappears while the chicks are very young, the male will bring plenty of food to the nest entrance but will not feed them, so they’ll starve.

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