Ecology of Burrowing Owls in Southwestern Idaho: Association with Agriculture, Food Habits and Territorial Behavior

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in Raptor Biology



Major Advisor

James R. Belthoff


This thesis consists of three chapters presenting results of my investigations of burrowing owls (Athene cuniculariai) and their association with agriculture, their food habits, and their territorial defense behaviors. The objectives of my research were to (1) determine what underlying mechanisms lead to the association of burrowing owls with agriculture, (2) describe the food habits of burrowing owls nesting in the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (NCA) of southwestern Idaho, and (3) determine if and how territorial defense is expressed by male burrowing owls. My research occurred during the spring and summer of 2001 and 2002 in the NCA and in adjacent private and Bureau of Land Management lands. Information contained in this thesis should be of particular interest to those concerned with the management and conservation of western burrowing owls as well as individuals investigating the expression of territorial behavior in avian species.

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