Monitoring Factors Leading to Successful Introduction of Burrowing Owls at ASU Polytechnic Campus

Western Burrowing Owls snuggling on perch at ASU Polytechnic campus

Join this event in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts' Science and Mathematics Colloquium series to learn about the college's Burrowing Owl Conservation Project at ASU Polytechnic campus.

Western burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) are a species heavily impacted by continuing urban sprawl in Arizona. Increasing human development has led to loss of protected habitat for nesting, despite the species being protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and being listed as a National Bird of Conservation Concern. Burrowing owls displaced from their habitat from construction are often rescued by organizations like Wild at Heart, whose mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and release birds in suitable habitats. 

In May 2021, a site on ASU Polytechnic campus was identified for suitable introduction of two burrowing owl pairs. Artificial burrows were constructed on-site in June and the owls were introduced via soft-release method to the open campus. Ongoing monitoring via trail cameras is being used for evaluating owl intra- and interspecific behaviors, survival, potential threats from predators (e.g. feral cats) and interactions with their environment. 

The session presenter is Gabriella Rose Mada, an ASU senior pursuing a bachelor's degree in Applied Biological Sciences (Natural Resource Ecology), a minor in Sustainability and a certificate in Wildlife Management. A student in the combination BS/MS 4+1 accelerated program, Mada will — upon completion of her undergraduate studies — continue into the Master of Science in Applied Biological Sciences. Her master's applied research project will focus on the success of the translocated burrowing owls located on the ASU Polytechnic campus. Her faculty mentor on the project is Pedro M. Chavarria, PhD, lecturer in wildlife ecology, in the Faculty of Science and Mathematics, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts.

The Zoom link and passcode for this event are:

passcode: 855558

Faculty of Science and Mathematics, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts
Professor Steven Saul
Aravaipa Auditorium
Polytechnic campus

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