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Photo by Tom Grey

Bird of the Month: Burrowing Owl

Become a bird expert! Every month we feature a different bird species of the San Francisco Bay Area. You can learn how to identify local birds and find out fun facts about our amazing feathered friends. Click on the pictures at the bottom of the page to learn about birds from previous months, and check back each month to see the latest species of interest!

Name: Burrowing Owl

Size: 7-10 inches

Wingspan: 22 inches

Diet: Insects, scorpions, small mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles.

Behavior: Catches food with feet. Hunts by walking, hopping, or running along the ground, or by flying from perch.

Habitat: Lives in dry, open areas with no trees and short grass. Found on golf courses, cemeteries, airports, vacant lots, university campuses, pastures, and prairie dog towns.

Fun Facts: The Burrowing Owl collects mammal dung and puts it in and around its burrow. The dung attracts dung beetles, which the owl then captures and eats.

Status: Populations declining in many areas;

Migratory Route: Breeds in summer from Southern Canada to Mexico. Winters from southwestern US to El Salvador in Central America.