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8:27 PM Tue, Dec. 11th

Volunteers sought to feed burrowing owls

Courtesy
A burrowing owl stands near the entrance to an artificial burrow placed near Springerville last May.

Courtesy A burrowing owl stands near the entrance to an artificial burrow placed near Springerville last May.

People with an interest in burrowing owls are needed to be volunteer feeders at a new relocation site in Mohave County.

Greg Clark, Wild at Heart burrowing owl coordinator, is seeking 5-6 volunteers to feed mice to 48 owls being relocated from areas where construction has adversely affected owl habitat.

The site is on 640 acres of Bureau of Land Management property about five miles north of Route 66 along Antares Road near Saguaro Road.

"Most people would probably be comfortable doing this once a week," Clark said. "We'll need to know how many mice are eaten each day and at which tent.

"Volunteers will receive frozen mice they put in a coffee can with regular water.

"By the time they reach the site, the mice would be defrosted and they just slip them under the edge of the tents."

Wild at Heart is a non-profit organization with an aviary in Cave Creek.

Owls are placed inside enclosed tents for 30 days at a new release site to give them time to acclimate to a new area. Eight owls go in each tent, and there will be six tents put up at the site, probably next week.

As it could take up to two weeks to put up all eight tents, volunteers may be needed to feed the owls for 5-6 weeks.

People with an interest in burrowing owls are needed to be volunteer feeders at a new relocation site in Mohave County.

Greg Clark, Wild at Heart burrowing owl coordinator, is seeking 5-6 volunteers to feed mice to 48 owls being relocated from areas where construction has adversely affected owl habitat.

The site is on 640 acres of Bureau of Land Management property about five miles north of Route 66 along Antares Road near Saguaro Road.

"Most people would probably be comfortable doing this once a week," Clark said. "We'll need to know how many mice are eaten each day and at which tent.

"Volunteers will receive frozen mice they put in a coffee can with regular water.

"By the time they reach the site, the mice would be defrosted and they just slip them under the edge of the tents."

Wild at Heart is a non-profit organization with an aviary in Cave Creek.

Owls are placed inside enclosed tents for 30 days at a new release site to give them time to acclimate to a new area. Eight owls go in each tent, and there will be six tents put up at the site, probably next week.

As it could take up to two weeks to put up all eight tents, volunteers may be needed to feed the owls for 5-6 weeks.

In addition, Clark invites teachers to contact him about bringing their students to see the owls as they are placed into the tents.

"It will be a unique educational opportunity," he said.

"The kids will remember it for the rest of their lives, as they get to see burrowing owls up close."

Clark may be contacted on his cell phone at (480) 688-0118.

Wild at Heart relocated 70 burrowing owls among 200 burrows near Springerville last May in an experiment to see how they respond to an elevation of about 7,000 feet.

Males quickly establish a territory among burrows and defend it.

Females migrate and return for the breeding season.

"It has snowed there almost continuously over the winter and another snow is expected," Clark said.

"I haven't yet seen the owls, so I don't yet have a good feel for whether they will return.

"Our other relocation sites have all been below 5,500 feet, where the males stay the whole year."