Burrowing Owls in the Protected Area

The Mace Ranch Community Park Habitat Area is an area in the Mace Ranch Park that has been set aside as a wild life habitat. There are a plethora of rabbits living in the fenced in area, and almost always some Burrowing Owls as well. Because the grass becomes too long for the Burrowing Owls during the spring time, sheep and goats are placed within the fence to mow the grasses.

Surrounding the area is a collection of community created tiles.

City of Davis information about the sheep and goats.

On April 30, 2011, the area received some landscaping attention from volunteers with Mormon Helping Hands.


Lawn Mowers A resting baby goat Baaah!

Sometimes the lawnmowers are noisy


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2007-03-15 11:37:09   Goats are domestic animals right? Some wildlife. It was more wild before the city ever did anything to it, such as declaring it a "wildlife area". Mowing the grass with goats may be more wild than with riding lawnmowers, but that is nowhere near the sort of wilderness in a place like Modoc County. Meanwhile, grass grows in cracks in the sidewalk, cockroaches infest restaurants, and these are unrecognized as wildlife. Whether or not humans can be wild is still another issue (Is panhandling or graffitti on train cars wild?). Wild should mean uncontrolled and disorganized, and relative wilderness all depends on point of view. —NickSchmalenberger

    2007-03-15 12:38:28   Yeah... I was sort of happy they left at least some of the field for wildlife but was confused when they put in goats... I'm sure owls, thouh they may not like the long grass, have lived in it for years before we started mowing it with goats for them. Of course, we should have never built the city at all if we wanted wildlife to exist everywhere. The other attempts at open spaces in the city (see the ponds) are about equally controlled, watered, etc. —WesHardaker

2007-03-15 13:24:42   I think the ponds have really been pretty successful. I think the one near me in West Davis is pretty nice looking and is useful for drainage too. I have often wanted to take a canoe around it. —NickSchmalenberger

2007-03-15 15:57:53   I like the ponds too, but they're not "natural" landscaping as would exist if no one had anything to do with it (some are even watered by the city during the summer). I actually have no idea what the current area in mace ranch is called... maybe it's not a "wildlife" area (which I guess is what you have an issue with? If so, I think the name is mine). BTW, if you like natural areas, do check out the grasslands park south on Mace. Much more "native" habitat —WesHardaker

    Did I say I thought the ponds were natural? The ponds are certainly artificial I agree, but I think nice anyway. The sign on Mace Ranch Park says "habitat area" which I think is an even worse name. The whole area is zoned residential and I don't see much point in setting aside habitat for burrowing owls or "wildlife" specifically. If it is set aside for some particular purpose how wild can it really be? What if, gasp, a non-native species moved in? The city would hire all sorts of consultants to come in and manage everything to fit their fantasy. I think a better name for this sort of place would be "Natural History Preserve" to reflect the dynamic nature of wilderness. There should also be some sort of benefit to the city like the storm drainage in the ponds. I had an excellent discussion with SteveDavison about the meaning of natural on Food/Natural. I have been to Yolo County Grasslands Regional Park too, I agree it is nice. —NickSchmalenberger

The burrowing owl is a threatened species and attempts have been made to list it as endangered in California. That's the "point in setting aside habitat" for them. Second, I think the whole point about the area not being wild is cute and all, but really what is the point. You would be hard pressed to find any area in the lower 48 that isn't managed and therefore by your definition not wild, but yet some of that land has been set aside as reserves where particular species are likely to persist. Are the burrow owls likely to persist at Mace Ranch? I don't know, but it beats not trying. Actually, wasn't the reserve or park (or whatever you want to call it) a required part of the Mace Ranch development. —JimEvans

    2007-03-15 22:25:51   I think all new development requires new land set aside for "no development" (covel village developers praised themselves for the land they set aside (which, actually, may have been above the minimum; I don't know)). Actually, there is a lot more owls in other areas in mace ranch than just that little patch. Say, for example, right where target is going to go. —WesHardaker

2007-03-15 22:39:33   Sometimes I forget how unconventional my idea of wilderness actually is, so I'm sorry. It includes rusted out cars and bird poop on statues but does not include burrowing owls living in artificial burrows maintained for them by people. —NickSchmalenberger

2007-03-15 23:04:34   I certainly haven't heard of plastic burrows... is there supposed to be plastic burrows in that area? given our frog tunnel I guess I wouldn't be surprised. —WesHardaker

    Actually I don't know if they are plastic, I wrote that off the top of my head, but I read it off the picture of the sign JasonAller uploaded on Mace Ranch Park... There could be some affordable housing jokes about this. —NickSchmalenberger

2011-04-18 01:48:57   Saw some sheep there on Friday. It's my favorite sign that it's spring time, seeing these farm animals basically right in my backyard. But, I have to say, I haven't seen a burrowing owl here for a good few years. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough... Or maybe they just up and left. And with that new development happening right next to this preserve, I can't see them coming back any time soon. I miss when this whole area was somewhat wild, not the planned and bland soccer field-baseball backstop dominated park it is now... —CecilioPadilla

2013-04-14 13:12:49   And now the City of Davis, that couldn't manage to maintain the proper environment for the Burrowing Owls, has determined that the area is "now ready to be develop;ed into a passive recreation area per the approved master plan for the Mace Ranch Community Park" (City of Davis Staff Report dated November 27, 2012). Sounds to me like it was part of the master plan that the owls weren't going to make it. But you know, the eco-minded Davis residents could feel good because we had a "habitat area"! (Does it matter that it FAILED?) We just shouldn't have trusted the city to manage it. And I'm curious how we can now develop the park according to the "master plan" using funding from the Verona Subdivision Development Agreement—which didn't exist when the "master plan" was created. —KevinALee