Upper Santa Ana River


Athene cunicularia

Natural History

Burrowing owls range throughout California, and in Southern California, have the largest populations in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. They are known from the lower elevation and flat portions of the upper Santa Ana River area. They are scarce due to loss of habitat and habitat degradation.

Their habitat is mostly grasslands within sparse shrub vegetation, but they can also be found along agricultural fields, golf courses, parks and airports. They will roost and nest in burrows made by ground squirrels, foxes and coyotes as well as man-made features such as pipes and culverts. They eat a variety of prey, including insects, small mammals and sometimes small birds.

Burrowing owls are year around residents in California, and are known to disperse many miles from their natal site. They can be observed at all times during the year.

Life Stage/Activity PeriodJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Threats and Management Actions

The main threats to burrowing owls is loss of habitat, habitat degradation and ground squirrel eradication. Other threats include rodenticides and reduction in burrowing opportunities. Management includes habitat protection and restoration, including burrow construction, and public education about the impacts of rodenticides.

How you can help: Consider alternatives to rodenticides, such as live traps or snap traps to remove rats and mice from your home.

This website is being developed by ICF in coordination with the Upper Santa Ana River Sustainable Resource Alliance and Stillwater Sciences.