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'Pop can on stilts': Burrowing owls back to breeding grounds in Sask., conservation efforts underway

Saskatchewan welcomed back burrowing owls. (Photo provided by Tammy Thomas) Saskatchewan welcomed back burrowing owls. (Photo provided by Tammy Thomas)

After a long winter, burrowing owls have made their way back to their breeding grounds in southern Saskatchewan.

The owls journeyed back to the prairies from Mexico and southern Texas and breeding season is already underway, according to a release from Nature Saskatchewan.

The burrowing owls have already paired up. The females are incubating the eggs inside the burrow while the males are busy hunting for food, the release said.

The burrowing owls, which have long featherless legs “that make them look like a pop can on stilts,” are adapted to the prairie landscape and coexist well with grazing animals.

The owls have become a common sight in the prairies but according to Nature Saskatchewan, they are an endangered species in Canada.

“Every sighting is incredibly important,” the release read. “If you have burrowing owls in your pasture or cultivated land, do not fear. Burrowing Owls are excellent helpers and provide many advantages including free pest control.”

Kaytlyn Burrows, habitat stewardship coordinator, said the owls eat huge numbers of insects, mice, voles, and grasshoppers.

“Over the course of a summer, one owl family can consume up to 1,800 rodents and 7,000 insects,” she said in the release.

Nature Saskatchewan’s voluntary program called “Operation Burrowing Owl” works to conserve habitats and keep an eye on population numbers.

“Without the voluntary efforts of the land stewards and the general public, recovery of this unique prairie owl would not be possible,” Burrows said in the release. Top Stories


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