A Burrowing What?

The Burrowing Owl was once a common summer resident of the Canadian prairies. Since 1987, the Burrowing Owl population has declined over 96%. It's estimated that between 500 and 800 owl pairs currently breed in Canada. In Manitoba, the population has declined from over 100 pairs in the early 1980s to under 10 in 2012.

The owl's decline has been attributed to changes in the prairie landscape. Over 75% of our native grassland has been cultivated and 40% of our wetlands have been lost. The remaining grassland areas in Manitoba and Canada are often heavily fragmented which has reduced available suitable habitat for Burrowing Owls to nest.


Did you know?

  • Burrowing Owls are the only North American owl that nests in the ground.
  • Burrowing Owls are unable to dig their own burrows and rely on digging animals like badgers, foxes, ground squirrels and pocket gophers to do so for them. They are unable to nest without a burrow.
  • A one-day-old Burrowing Owl weighs 8-9 grams. Within 5 weeks their weight increases 16-17 times that to 150g-170g. Young fledge and are independent from their parents at 6 weeks of age.
  • A single Burrowing Owl family can eat 1,800 rodents and 7,000 insects during a summer! They also eat things like frogs, small birds and salamanders.
  • Males make a "Coo-Coo" call to attract a mate in the early breeding season and also to other males when protecting their territory.
  • Burrowing Owls hunt both day and night (Diurnal hunter).
  • A Burrowing Owl nest can have up to a dozen eggs!
  • Burrowing Owls migrate from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico every fall.

Thanks to our project partners and Sponsors


Manitoba Burrowing Owl Recovery Program

(204) 807-4668 (HOOT)


© 2017 Manitoba Burrowing Owl Recovery Program