Burrowing owls are one of the smallest owl species with rapidly decreasing populations across Canada’s prairies. The Manitoba Burrowing Owl Recovery Program’s (MBORP) addresses the on-going decline of burrowing owls in southwestern Manitoba, and this spring has seen the highest number of fledged young since the program began in 2010.

At four weeks old, along with banding, checking body condition and taking blood samples, the fledglings are weighed.

While the most used, and equally safe, method to weigh the owls is by putting them into a nylon sleeve and then onto a scale, that method has the potential to ruffle some feathers (literally) when removing the nylon from their bodies.

This owl tube was designed and given to us by a generous individual who wanted to provide us with an easier way to avoid feather-ruffling.

By placing them downwards in the owl tube, the owls immediately relax with their eyes covered, and the holes in the bottom allow ventilation for the very short time they are in there. There is enough room on the sides of the owl for us to reach in and hold them/remove them without catching their feathers on the way out. Weighing an owl is a quick process, and they do not appear ruffled at all!

Taylor Denolf

Field Technician – Burrowing Owl Recovery

Taylor will be entering her final year of her Bachelor of Science Degree Program at Brandon University this fall, 2021. She is majoring in Biology and minoring in Environmental Geography. Her love of all things nature has always been apparent. She is very excited to join the Manitoba Burrowing Owl Recovery Program this season.

Taylor is looking forward to learning more about these unique endangered grassland birds and spreading the importance of grassland conservation.
Photo: Alex Froese

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