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Badlands National Park

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The burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia), was once widely distributed throughout the western United States and Canada (Bent 1938), and was considered common on the prairie dog towns of South Dakota and Nebraska (Cooke 1888, Over and Thomas 1920). Recently however, concern over the birds status has resulted in its being listed as; "endangered" in two states (MN and lA), "threatened" across its range in Canada, and of "special concern" in seven states (WA, OR, CA, MT, WY, ND, FL) (Martell1990). Land management practices including grazing, shooting, and poisoning on prairie dog colonies, the primary nesting habitat of burrowing owls in the Great Plains, has the potential to greatly affect owl populations. Information on population sizes and trends, the location of wintering areas, and the degree of nest site fidelity is needed to monitor and manage this species on public lands.