Burrowing owls are native to California's Central Valley, and unlike other owls of the area, they live underground. However, burrowing owls don't dig burrows themselves, but instead reuse abandoned ground-squirrel and other mammals' holes. Burrowing owls are diurnal, feed on insects and rodents, and normally produce four to five young a year. They are also exceedingly loyal to their nests, preferring to maintain a continuous home. They can live nine to ten years, and longer in captivity. They are currently threatened due to development encroaching on the agricultural land they inhabit.
For more information on the burrowing owl and efforts to protect it, contact:
The Burrowing Owl Preservation Society (based in Woodland)
Burrowing Owl Conservation Network (based in Brentwood)
Burroworks Inc. (has information on building birdhouses for burrowing owls)
For more information on other winged friends in Davis, see Birds and Bird Watching.
Places to spot burrowing owls
There are some burrowing owls at the end of Loyola Drive by the baseball field. The fenced-in Calgene Greenhouse lot between the DISC and Schilling Robotics on 2nd Street has several burrowing owls. You can also find several in the walking/jogging path around the north and east side of Wildhorse, particularly the ag buffer. Just drive north on Pole Line and pull over after the houses next to the golf course. Or drive north on Mace Blvd. around the bend at the edge of town, near the new Mace Ranch School. Several owls ironically hang out on a land developer's sign on the edge of the fields, east side of the road. Also, The Colleges at La Rue was built on burrowing owl habitat and breeding areas in addition to foraging and nesting sites of Swainson's Hawk (a state endangered species). If you catch the owls under the right conditions, you can have a walk at Wildhorse where they are popped up on either side of the path like Muppets. You can go from never having seen one to having seen ten in a matter of 20 minutes.
2010-07-24 18:19:53 They look so silly and adorable surrounding themselves around a burrow. —hankim
2012-06-13 13:03:43 I haven't seen one behind my house (the Mace Ranch preserve thing) for a few years now. I used to see them all the time, until some new housing development began construction. Sad... —CecilioPadilla
2014-10-13 11:30:24 I saw one attacking a snake in May of 2014 at Wildhorse Golf Course. —JessicaWeberMilne