Much of our work at IBP is based on the premise that a little thoughtful coordination can join the efforts of disparate individuals and groups into something greater than the sum of its parts. This is particularly true for monitoring bird populations where, in many cases, non-professional biologists make important contributions. From 1991-1993, IBP coordinated over 400 volunteers who contributed nearly 7,000 hours to counting Burrowing Owls on 939 study plots across California. Volunteers documented the locations of 1,955 pairs of owls and, just as importantly, where the owls were absent.
At the time, this was the largest volunteer survey ever on a single species in California. Our final report contained regional and statewide population estimates, documenting the species’ decline, and conservation recommendations. This pioneering work led to a cooperative research program on Burrowing Owls in critical areas of California from 1996-2004. The original 1991-93 survey was repeated in 2006-07, with nearly 400 volunteers.
In 2007, IBP Published a monograph on the Burrowing Owl, Proceedings of the California Burrowing Owl Symposium, which included 20 peer-reviewed papers on the species’ ecology, status, distribution, and trend, and a comprehensive bibliography of the Burrowing Owl in California.
For more information about IBP’s past Burrowing Owl work, please contact Bob Wilkerson
Photo Credits: Top of Page, Hans Splinter