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Hoo Hoo gives a hoot about burrowing owls?

Coo-Cooo! I do! I do! So much so that I adopted one!

Let me introduce you to the newest member of the Smith-Nelson clan although technically he doesn’t live with us. This is Trooper! He was born and raised at the Saskatchewan Burrowing Owl Interpretive Centre, hatching there in 2005.

Trooper the Burrowing Owl

Did you know? Maintaining owls in captivity can cost up to costs approximately $400/owl/year in food alone! Help a bird out!

Trooper was hand raised so that he could become tame enough to participate in the Centre’s educational programs, but at the ripe old age of 8 he’s recently retired and living the good life. I am hoping to meet him sometime next month!

The Saskatchewan Burrowing Owl Interpretive Centre in Moose Jaw promotes the conservation of burrowing owls by through education, stewardship and eco-tourism.

And, I don’t simply care about burrowing owls, more so I worry about their future and what their existence looks like in 20-30 years.

In this part of the world, burrowing owls have been consistently losing their habitat/range (down -51% from 1970-2004!!) and have even disappeared from native nesting grounds in northern parts of Saskatchewan and Alberta.

These sweet little birds, which stand only about 19 cm (9 inches) tall and weigh in between 125 and 185 grams (.028 – .41 lbs) have already been extirpated in British Columbia and Manitoba*. This is due quite simply to their habitat disappearing.

The debate on the future of Saskatchewan’s southern Grasslands, home to the burrowing owls and other bird species has been a hot topic for some time now.

Earlier this year renowned author and conservationist Margaret Atwood, Graeme Gibson and a handful of conservation advocates from around the world gathered in Saskatchewan and advocated for the southern Grasslands region and it’s feathery inhabitants. While here they toured community pastures in the province and drew attention to the growing concern for the uncertainty of the Grasslands and the potential impacts selling them off could bring.

“The ecological value of these large tracts of unbroken prairie is internationally recognized.” “We have heard that 16 at-risk bird species on Saskatchewan’s most critical grasslands may be losing their legislative protection and conservation management. That concerns us, as it should concern all Canadians.” ~ Margaret Atwood**

As one of those species at risk happens to be the burrowing owl I am grateful to Atwood and others for bringing more attention to the Grasslands situation and the importance of conservation in Saskatchewan.

Since I happen to love all birds I am doing what I can to spread the word about how others can get involved and help this adorable species.

So you want to help? Here are five ways:

1. Educate yourself. Learn about the Grasslands (great info here and here) and species at risk.
2. Visit the Saskatchewan Burrowing Owl Interpretive Centre in Moose Jaw.
3. Adopt an owl – I did! It’s easy – fill in the online form and wait patiently by your mailbox to see which owl you have adopted! Or, do it as a gift! Personally, I am hoping to have a whole schwack of adoptees this year hint, hint!
5. Spread the word.

And for the record – it’s official, yep I have yet another official document. (I am really into verification these days!)


*According to the Saskatchewan Burrowing Owl Interpretive Centre, there have been some occurrences of Burrowing Owls in Manitoba (2006/2007) and B.C. has been working on reintroduction efforts.
**Quote borrowed (with permission) from:

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