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Burrowing Owl Preservation Society

California Raptor Center Open House May 2
Simon, a non-releasable burrowing owl, will be out "on the glove"

Vegetation Management

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mustard over growing burrow
 mound--Rachel in background

Mustard on burrow mound

Our stalwart vegetation management crew, Hillary White, Rachel Freund and Catherine Portman, ventured out on a very windy Sunday! The mustard and exotic grasses were “growing like weeds” in our warm sunny days. Rachel was amazing achieving victory over tenacious mustard roots. Catherine staffed the weed whacker and enjoyed grass and dirt thrown into her face and teeth! Hillary and Catherine hauled out debris that caused the lawn mower to go around….leaving un-mowed areas.

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Hillary wrestling a weed

Catherine with
 grass in her teeth

Catherine said, “I used to think the hardest part about artificial burrow installation was getting a land owner to give permission to install. But it isn’t. The hardest part is keeping the vegetation down after burrows are installed.” Some people managing artificial burrow sites are afraid to work near occupied burrows. We weed whacked within 300 feet of an occupied burrow and did not flush the pair. And, as my friend who managed burrowing owl habitat for 22 years used to say, “I’ve never seen a burrowing owl commit suicide by jumping in front of a lawn mower.”

Hillary and Rachel discovered they had both worked at Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. http://www.fws.gov/refuge/sevilleta/

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