Owls are a great resource to study to learn more about the ecosystems they’re in and the prey they eat. However, like many animals today, they face threats to their survival. Climate change and human activity cause a lot of problems for different species of owls.
Burrowing owls face threats from habitat loss, changes of land use, and nest damage from weather.1&2 With weather changes, some regions get heavier rainfall. This can flood their burrows or impede burrowing owl parents from bringing enough food back to their young.2
For snowy owls, climate change is evident in their cold habitats. As the region warms, the permafrost, which is the part of the ground that usually stays frozen all year round, is melting. This causes erosion of the land around them. A thawing and freezing cycle can also happen, which affects their prey. Their favorite prey, lemmings, are left without their own food source when everything freezes over again. This in turn affects the snowy owl population.2
Barn owls have a hard time with the increasingly intense weather brought on by global warming. In the United Kingdom, when they saw longer periods of freezing temperatures in 2010, 2011, and 2013, they also saw a record number of dead barn owls. 2013 also had the poorest breeding season to date.3
Many owls face threats of habitat loss from human activity and climate change. The more invested we become in their protection, the better off they’ll be. Check out our online resources, like our blog or our virtual pellet dissection to learn more about owls and their environments!