Article abstract: The purpose of this study is to develop habitat enhancement techniques for re-establishing and maintaining low, open grassland habitat for owls. For owls, low vegetation makes locating and capturing rodents easier. It also increases the odds that burrowing owls will detect predators before they strike. The study will also focus on increasing burrow availability by increasing the presence of the burrowing mammal most important to burrowing owls in the San Diego region, the California ground squirrel (Spermophilus beecheyi). The presence of burrows available for occupancy may be an important factor for burrowing owl populations (Moulton et al. 2006). In addition to creating burrows, squirrels cut grass and forb stems during their normal foraging activity, and they trample the vegetation enough to keep the vegetation community lower and more open than it would be otherwise (Fitch 1948).
Number of pages: 19
Authors: Deutschman, Douglas; McCullough, Sarah;
Publisher: San Diego State University
Prepared for: San Diego Association of Governments;
Prepared by: San Diego State University, Department of Biology;
Keywords: burrowing owl; grasslands; ground squirrel; Habitat Enhancement;