Deep Dive - Burrowing Owls

by OBDK on January 31, 2022

Burrowing Owls are small owls that nest in underground burrows.1 They prefer habitats that are open, like prairies or deserts. The majority of their time is spent on the ground, and they have long legs compared to other owls, which helps them run along the ground and capture their prey.2


They are most active during the day. When they hunt, they’ll go after insects like grasshoppers, crickets, and caterpillars. They’ll also go after small mammals like voles or mice. Frogs, lizards, and snakes are also on the menu, especially for the Burrowing Owls that live in areas like Florida.3


These owls can be found in the Midwest and eastern states of the United States, along with the eastern regions of Canada – usually in the summer. During the winter, they’ll be found further south into Mexico and Central America. There are also year-round populations of Burrowing Owls that are found in Mexico and Florida.4


Burrowing Owls stand between 7 and 10 inches tall, weigh about 5 ounces, and have a 21-inch wingspan. They are brown with sandy-colored spots on their feathers. However, those who live further south have slightly different coloring. Their spots are whiter in color and overall, their bodies are a little smaller.2


Burrowing Owls are considered threatened or endangered in some areas. Their population has declined due to control programs designed to take care of prairie dogs and ground squirrels. They have also faced habitat loss and are often threatened by getting hit with cars.3 They are considered a conservation concern in Canada and Mexico, too.4


New product alert! 

Get a three-pack of unusual remains.

Barn Owls have a diverse diet – they don’t just eat voles, but insects, frogs, snakes, crawfish, birds, and more! When we identify these pellets, we separate them to provide an opportunity to experience a fascinating dissection experience. 


Bring your lab to life!

  1. Sibley’s Owls of North America, by David Allen Sibley. Published by Earth Sky + Water, LLC. 2016.