PETITIONED: No federal petition; petitioned in 2003 under California Endangered Species Act

RANGE: From the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, north into Canada and south to Mexico and western Panama; in California, found throughout the Central Valley and in the northeastern and southern portions of the state

THREATS: Habitat loss and fragmentation from urban development, elimination of burrowing rodents, intensive agriculture, destruction of burrows, pesticides, predation by nonnative species, vehicle strikes, electric fences, collisions with wind turbines, and shooting

POPULATION TREND: Surveys in the mid-1990s showed that an estimated 9,450 owl nesting pairs remained in the primary range of California burrowing owls. The number of breeding owl colonies located in the survey area declined by nearly 60 percent from the 1980s to the early 1990s, and the statewide number of owls is currently thought to be declining at about 8 percent per year due to urban development. Breeding burrowing owls have been extirpated from almost one-quarter of their former geographic range in California over the past two decades.

Female burrowing owl and owlet athene cunicularia photo by Kevin Cole.