No, the owls don't eat the prairie dogs -- the two species have a symbiotic relationship where the owls reuse and repurpose abandoned holes. The two species also have common predators -- coyotes, hawks, bobcats, badgers, snakes -- so the owls benefit from the prairie dogs' vocal warning systems.
Burrowing owls also differ from most other owls in that they are diurnal (active during the day) and they are also smaller than most other owl species (and cuter). The owls mostly feed on insects, particularly grasshoppers and beetles, but they will also sometimes eat mice and small reptiles and amphibians.
Although burrowing owls migrate to Arizona, California, Texas, and northern Mexico in the winter, they are considered a threatened species in Colorado, their summer home, because of the elimination of much of their natural habitat. Eradication of prairie dogs by humans has had an adverse effect on burrowing owls, illustrating the importance of understanding how Colorado's different wildlife species affect one another. Recommended Survey Protocol and Actions to Protect Nesting Burrowing Owls When Conducting Prairie Dog Control, a Colorado Division of Wildlife publication available from our library, addresses this issue.
In addition to the above-named resources, you can also find information on burrowing owls in several other Division of Wildlife publications available from our library, including The Little Owls and Conservation Plan for Grassland Species of Colorado. See also Colorado Parks & Wildlife's species profile for more information and links.
By Amy Zimmer - August 10, 2017
One of the great novelists of the twentieth century, James A. Michener, set one of his best-known novels right here in Colorado. Michener ...
Did you know that the name of Golden has nothing to do with gold? What name is Calhan a misspelling of? How many ladies in Park County could...
At our library we often get questions about where to find a listing of salaries for state-funded university faculty and staff. Many univers...
The Colorado primaries are coming in June, and for the first time, Unaffiliated voters can vote in primary elections. This is due to Proposi...
It's only the beginning of June, but with temperatures already into the 90s, it looks like it's going to be a very hot summer! With ...