fun facts about burrowing owls

Have you ever heard of an owl that prefers to live on the ground? Have you ever heard of an owl or even an animal that decorates the entrance to their own nests? Well, we sure did not know about such an animal until we did some research on the burrowing owl.

Why don’t you tell these 11 amazing burrowing owl facts that we have listed below to your kids and see as their jaws drop? Additionally, they will also get to learn something new, which is always welcome. Right?

11 Most Interesting & Fun Facts about Burrowing Owls for Kids

The tiny burrowing owls are quite unique when it comes to owls in general. Besides preferring treeless habitats, burrowing owls can be found in deserts and grasslands; all throughout both North and South America.

From using food to attract mates to decorating its own burrows, we present you with some of the most fascinating aspects of this small owl.

1. Burrowing owls have a signature call

Like most other owls, burrowing owls too have their own signature call. The song is a two-note coo-coo that gives a series of clucks and chatters.

Similar to the rest of the owl species, these calls or songs are used mostly during the mating season.

2. Burrowing owls live in loose colonies

What is interesting to note about the burrowing owls is that unlike the other species of owls, they are not solitary creatures. They often live together in loose colonies where the adults take turns to stand guard and nest the burrows.

In case you want to know more about owls that prefer being alone, read about the Barred Owls here; 11 Amazing Barred Owl Facts for Kids

3. As the name suggests, they live on the grounds and nest in burrows

Unlike most other species of owls that prefer to live on trees, burrowing owls live on the ground. Their nests look very similar to that of the burrows made by the squirrels.

We think it is no longer up for question as to where these owls get their names from.

4. They are different when it comes to the sizes of females with respect to other owl species

Owls are one of those species where the males tend to be smaller in size than the females. However, that is not the case for burrowing owls as the females are almost always smaller than the males.

5. The mating ritual for burrowing owls often involves food

It looks like the burrowing owls really love food! They love it so much that it forms an important part of their mating ritual. During courtship, the male owls present the females with food in addition to singing, flying, and preening.

This does not end at courtship as the male owls continue to bring food for the females during incubation and after the eggs hatch.

6. Burrowing owls can be opportunistic feeders

The diet of the burrowing owls mostly consists of a large number of invertebrates, small mammals and, smaller birds.

Unlike some other owls who can often tackle a prey bigger than them, burrowing owls do not intentionally hunt prey that is bigger than its own size.

7. Burrowing owls can have slightly different appearances based on different regions

Burrowing owls can be found throughout the American continent and they have many subspecies which vary slightly in appearances.

For example, the ones found in Florida and the Caribbean tend to be smaller with whiter spots as opposed to the ones found on the western side of the American continent.

8. Burrowing owls often store up food in case of a shortage

As they prefer living in the burrows, these owls have a lot in common with other animals which make use of the burrows. For example, squirrels.

They often tend to hoard food in case there comes a time where there is an unexpected shortage of food.

9. Burrowing owls have a higher tolerance to carbon dioxide levels

Burrowing owls tend to have a significantly higher tolerance to carbon dioxide; probably higher than most birds.

This is because they tend to spend a lot of time deep in their burrows where they don’t have fresh airflow and gas levels tend to accumulate. This allows them to live there safely.

10. Burrowing owls are extremely intelligent when it comes to catching their prey

These clever birds have a very creative way to lure food in. Since their diet mainly consists of invertebrates, they scatter animal dung all around the entrance to their burrows.

This results in dung beetles and other insects coming and feast on the same, thus allowing the owls to capture their prey without even leaving their burrows. It is essentially a food delivery service!

11. Burrowing owls leave no vacancy signs near their burrows

To make sure that other creatures do not make their burrows their own, burrowing owls soften decorate the entrance to their burrows with small pieces of straw wrappers and bottle caps.

Additionally, the male owl often stands guard outside the entrance to make sure that there are no visitors.

To learn about some other species of owls, check out our articles:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are burrowing owl babies called?

Like all owl babies, a burrowing owl baby is called an owlet.

What do burrowing owls eat?

Burrowing owls tend to eat insects, small reptiles, and small mammals as a part of their regular diet.

What do burrowing owls drink?

Burrowing owls can get water from their prey so they do not need to drink water directly. Occasionally, while bathing, they might consume water directly.

How big is a burrowing owl?

Burrowing owls can be anywhere between 7 to 10 inches tall and can weigh 5.29 ounces (oz) on average.

Where do burrowing owls live?

As the name suggests, burrowing owls live in burrows that are dug and later abandoned by other animals. They are mostly found in the grasslands.

Why do burrowing owls live in burrows?

Burrowing owls prefer living in burrows as they have a higher tolerance to carbon dioxide. Additionally, they can scare away predators by hiding in the burrows and mimicking the hiss of rattlesnakes.

What do burrowing owls do in winter?

As they are nocturnal animals, burrowing owls generally hunt smaller mammals during the night and also migrate.

Where do burrowing owls go in the winter?

Burrowing owls are migratory birds and spend most of the winter in Southern Mexico.

Why do burrowing owls stand on one leg?

Burrowing owls have the capability to reduce the amount of heat lost by standing on one leg. By standing on one leg, they reduce almost half of the amount of heat lost from their bodies.

How long do burrowing owls live?

On average, a burrowing owl can live up to 6 to 8 years.

What is a burrowing owl’s life cycle?

Usually, by early March the burrowing owls start laying eggs which maybe 7 to 9 in number. Almost a month later, the eggs hatch, the owlets leave the nest after 40 days to survive on their own.

Can a burrowing owl fly?

Yes, a burrowing owl can fly. In fact, they migrate.

How high can a burrowing owl fly?

A burrowing owl can fly up to a height of 30 meters from the ground and 75 kilometers per hour.

How old do burrowing owls have to be to fly?

Almost 4 weeks after hatching, the owlets can start flying.

When are burrowing owls most active?

Like most owls, burrowing owls are most active at dawn and dusk.

Do all burrowing owls have yellow eyes?

Although most burrowing owls have bright yellow eyes, some may have black and brown eyes.

Why do some burrowing owls have black eyes?

Some burrowing owls have black eyes as it helps them to camouflage in darkness.

Are burrowing owls rare?

Although not endangered, the population of burrowing owls are unfortunately decreasing.

Will burrowing owls attack humans?

No, burrowing owls are not at all dangerous and will never intentionally attack human beings.

Will burrowing owls attack dogs?

Although burrowing owls do not attack dogs intentionally, in case they are threatened by a dog, they can attack in self-defense.

What are some threats to burrowing owls?

There are various threats to the population of burrowing owls which include habitat loss, pesticide use and destruction caused by land development and, prairie dog control measures.

Burrowing owls are an exception to the rest of the owl species as they prefer living on the ground. They are highly creative and intelligent birds who have learned how to survive just like the other burrowing animals.

That was the end of the article ’11 Amazing Burrowing Owl Facts for Kids.’ Hopefully, you had a great time learning about these fascinating creatures. Have a great day!

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