Western Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia hypugaea)
These charming little owls live and raise their young underground, so they are at risk of being buried alive during construction projects. The Burrowing Owl is the only known owl that lives underground and is especially affected by land development and construction.
Burrowing owls are not able to dig their own burrows, but create homes in existing underground spaces. Deserted squirrel burrows, kangaroo rat mounds, coyote, fox, skunk and badger dens provide homes for these owls. Active both day and night, this little owl is vulnerable to mammals and other birds, and new construction in the Southwestern U.S. takes a major toll on their populations. The Burrowing Owl is Endangered in Canada, Threatened in Mexico, and a Species of Special Concern in Florida and much of the Western US. As Arizona continues to grow, one of the greatest challenges is to minimize the impact of growth on displaced wildlife, and the use of artificial burrows is now helping to counter this threat.