ESTABLISHING A NEW BURROWING OWL BREEDING NODE IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY.
Savannah R. Perez; San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research; 15600 San Pasqual Valley Rd., Escondido, CA, 92027; (760) 703-3621; sperez@sandiegozoo.org; Colleen L. Wisinski, Michael T. Stevens, Danielle M. Angel, Susanne A. Marcak, Sarah M. Hennessy, Lisa A. Nordstrom
Population sustainability of the western burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea, BUOW) is uncertain due to habitat loss. As part of a multi-agency collaboration, increased efforts to create suitable BUOW habitat and new breeding nodes have been undertaken in San Diego County to help stabilize the population. At Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve (RJER), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife established a Burrowing Owl Habitat Management Area. We have encouraged ground squirrel settlement for natural burrow creation and installed artificial burrows for BUOW translocation. Five pairs of BUOW that were anticipated to be impacted by development at Brown Field Municipal Airport were translocated to RJER in 2018. After a soft-release period, they were monitored during the breeding season and beyond through site visits, camera traps, and satellite telemetry. We used techniques such as artificial conspecific cues (e.g. call playback) and supplemental feeding to dampen dispersal and increase juvenile survival. This effort adds to our understanding of active translocation as a tool for both conservation and mitigation. We present lessons learned in the first year of this multi-year effort to establish a new subpopulation of BUOW.
Poster Session