Audubon Arizona’s Downtown Owls
Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia) are small, day-active birds that live in the abandoned burrows of ground squirrels and other mammals. They are highly social and eat primarily insects and mice. Burrowing Owls have been identified as a species likely to be adversely impacted by climate change. Once common in the Phoenix valley, these birds are disappearing rapidly due to development. Fortunately, the birds can be trapped and successfully relocated to safe sites— but these sites are becoming increasingly rare. According to the National Audubon Society's report, Survival by Degrees, by 2080, this diurnal owl species could lose 77 percent of its current breeding range. Climate change will disrupt its winter range as well, leaving only 33 percent intact, shifting the remaining 67 percent elsewhere.
In partnership with Wild at Heart, an Arizona-based raptor rehabilitation center, “Downtown Owls” began in 2013 as an urban wildlife habitat creation project in the City of Phoenix’s Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area and has now grown to include several other sites valley-wide. Thousands of volunteers of all ages and from all walks of life have participated thus far and hundreds of owls have be re-homed. Learn more about the project.