Abstract - Burrowing Owl Foods in Conata Basin, South Dakota

MacCracken, James G., Uresk, Daniel W. and Hansen, Richard M. Burrowing Owl Foods in Conata Basin, South Dakota. Great Basin Naturalist 45. pp. 287-290.


Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia) were studied in a prairie dog town of southwestern South Dakota. Pellets regurgitated by Burrowing Owls contained a wide variety of prey remains. Insects, spiders, small mammals, and vegetation were the most frequent items identified in the pellets. Mammals were consumed most frequently during spring and early summer. Insects were consumed in large numbers during the entire period of this study, but they became more frequent in owl pellets during late summer and fall in association with a decline of mammal remains. Some prey items observed around owl nest sites were not found in the pellets examined. Possible secondary poisoning of some prey of Burrowing Owls has not produced any change in owl food habits, based on other studies reported in the literature.

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