During preliminary site assessments, Two Dot identified several active burrowing owl locations within a large black-tailed prairie-dog complex. Right-of-way agreements restricted the movement of well pads and access roads. Two Dot worked with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to get approval for setting 180 displacement traps in the prairie dog complex to passively remove burrowing owls before nesting occurred. Three artificial burrows that replicated burrowing owl habitat  were placed out of sight and outside the recommended buffers for  nesting burrowing owls. All three artificial burrows were occupied by burrowing owls relocated from the project area and all development was successfully permitted.

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   Burrowing         owls         (BOs)         and   their    nests     were     surveyed     by     using     State/Federal     protocols.     Once     active     burrows     were     located    a   14ft.    camera     scope     was    used    in     the     burrow    to    confirm     presence     of     rattlesnakes     and    BO   eggs.    BOs     were     monitored    3    days    to    document     behavior.

Burrowing owls (BOs) and their nests were surveyed by using State/Federal protocols. Once active burrows were located a 14ft. camera scope was used in the burrow to confirm presence of rattlesnakes and BO eggs. BOs were monitored 3 days to document behavior.

   Once     all     burrows     were     cleared     for     eggs,   3    artificial     mounds were constructed  with   two  burrows on     opposite     sides.    A   backhoe,    shovel,     irrigation    box   and    tubing,    and   6”    fence     posts    were    used    to    construct     artificial     burrow     mounds     approximately    150-200   meters    apart.

Once all burrows were cleared for eggs, 3 artificial mounds were constructed with two burrows on opposite sides. A backhoe, shovel, irrigation box and tubing, and 6” fence posts were used to construct artificial burrow mounds approximately 150-200 meters apart.

   View         of         artificial         burrow         mound         with         2    openings     oriented     NW     and     SE    to   avoid    direct    sun    light    into    burrow.     Mound     dimensions:    18”    below     surface,    22”    above     surface,     and    80”   x   100”.    T-post   perch is  60”  high  and   40”  wide.

View of artificial burrow mound with 2 openings oriented NW and SE to avoid direct sun light into burrow. Mound dimensions: 18” below surface, 22” above surface, and 80” x 100”. T-post perch is 60” high and 40” wide.

   Artificial     burrows     were     located     near     ant     hills,     grasshopper,    rodent,     and    small    reptile     habitat     for     forage     opportunities.

Artificial burrows were located near ant hills, grasshopper, rodent, and small reptile habitat for forage opportunities.

 

   Each         of         the         3   artificial    burrow     mounds     had    2    burrows     occupied     by     BO’s     until     late    October.    One     artificial    mound    produced    a    family     of    6    BO’s.     Photos    were   taken    with     motion     sensor    game    cameras.

Each of the 3 artificial burrow mounds had 2 burrows occupied by BO’s until late October. One artificial mound produced a family of 6 BO’s. Photos were taken with motion sensor game cameras.

 

   View         of         adult         BO    feeding    1    of    4   BO     chicks.      Motion     sensor    game    cameras     were     used     from     March    -    November.

View of adult BO feeding 1 of 4 BO  chicks.  Motion sensor game cameras were used from March - November.