Phoenix District helps to translocate owls displaced by development

Through a partnership with the non-profit organization Wild at Heart and the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the BLM's Phoenix District Office has been working on a burrowing owl augmentation project to translocate owls displaced by development throughout the greater Phoenix area to BLM lands. 

two people hold a burrowing owl

Burrowing owls across their range have been in decline in recent years. The owls are a BLM sensitive species which means that actions are needed to alleviate any threats to future declines, including relocation and repatriation projects such as this one. 

Most of the owls being displaced are coming from land adjacent to agricultural land, so it's important that the relocation sites are also adjacent to agricultural lands. Four relocation sites were selected within the Phoenix District’s Hassayampa Field Office and neighboring Colorado River District’s Lake Havasu Field Office due to their location adjacent to agricultural land in the Aguila and McMullen valleys. 

trenches with black drain pipe
Burrowing owl nest site construction

Currently, owls are being relocated to a site near Wenden, Arizona. Twelve relocation nest sites and 32 dispersal nest sites have been constructed at this relocation site. Temporary tents have been placed around the nest entrances of the relocation nest sites. Ninety-six owls have been placed into the tents and will be fed for five weeks after which the tents will be removed. Once the tents are removed, most of the owls will disperse to the additional nest sites and they will be on their own to forage and develop future mating pairs.

a large square mesh structure in a desert landscape
Temporary tents cover the owl relocation site.