Davis can Increase available Burrowing Owl Habitat

by Catherine Portman

Last year the Burrowing Owl Preservation Society organized a Burrowing Owl census of Yolo County. The formal census confirmed what many Burrowing Owl lovers have noticed–the Burrowing Owl population in Davis has declined dramatically. For example, one surveyed block (5 x5 km) included Wildhorse golf course where owls have reproduced historically. In the last state wide census in 2007, 32 pair were detected on the golf course block. Last year 2 pairs were detected. For the entire county, the 2007 census detected 53 breeding sites. In 2007, only 15 breeding sites were detected. Many Burrowing Owl advocates have asked what we can do to support the remaining Davis owls.

The City of Davis (that is, you, Davis citizens) own 38 acres around Wildhorse golf course where 3 pairs were detected in last year’s census. Some of that land could be managed to be more attractive to Burrowing Owls. Routine mowing to keep the vegetation short would create the hospitable conditions the owls need to see their prey and see predators.

Contact Bob Clarke, Public Works Director at BClarke@cityofdavis.org to ask that the ag buffer be mowed immediately and for a management plan for the ag buffer that creates optimal Burrowing Owl habitat.

The Fermi Place (across from Target) owls have four young. They will disperse at the end of August…looking for a home of their own. They are only three miles from the ag buffer. If they make their way through the traffic and domestic cats and arrive at the ag buffer, they’re more likely to stay if the vegetation is short.

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1 Comment

  1. fanofBurrowingOwl

    HI Catherine,

    What can be done to save the Fermi Place vacant fields for the burrowing owls/ground squirrels?

    I’m concerned about the burrowing owls in the vacant fields off of Fermi Place, it seems someone has been going around with pesticide to kill off the ground squirrels over Labor Day weekend.

    There have been several spots where the burrowing owls use to raise new chicks but the folks who own the land would rather have someone purchase the land and develop it as land for office buildings.

    On weekends and holidays, pickup trucks bring kids with dirt bikes and remote racing cars/trucks and this activity damages existing burrows and I’ve seen the owls having to fly off. I have been visiting every week on the weekends.

    Recently someone in white Jeep SUV asked who owned the land and was driving around the open fields.

    thanks for all you do.

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