Before going on with the project work today, we had a great discussion about our appropriate attitude toward the whole endeavor.  We decided to classify our whole project as an experiment, as we are learning new things every step of the way. After surveying the preserve and observing that most of the flora and fauna on the preserve are nonnative, we wondered whether endangered species could thrive there. JP agreed with our thoughts, and reminded us that while some “specialist” species were very picky when it came to the species with which they shared their pabitat, but ground squirrels and burrowing owls are less discriminatory.

However, burrowing owls are notoriously picky with their burrowing sites, as our research showed. They refuse to accept any non-natural homes, and also do not tolerate homes that are too near certain distractions, such as noisy construction sites.

A previous experiment involving man-made burrows instead of squirrel-dug burrows failed: the first year, only two pairs of owls made their home there. By the end of the second year, they were all gone.  We are hoping this doesn't happen here, since we are mimicking the way nature intended burrowing owls to acquire their burrows, but we are still nervous about the outcomes of this project.

 


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