Burrowing owls

Adult burrowing owls captured on the Pinedale Mesa were fitted with transmitters.

More burrowing owls received transmitter backpacks this summer, courtesy of Wyoming Game and Fish biologists.

The transmitters are part of a department study being conducted with the Idaho Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

The project aims to learn more about the owl's wintering areas and their migration routes used to get there and back to Wyoming. The Wyoming effort is part of a larger project involving several western states and Canadian provinces doing the same. Any adult burrowing owls captured are fitted with a solar-powered satellite transmitter to track their year-round movements. Juvenile burrowing owls only receive a leg band.

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The transmitters will show where the owls migrate in winter.

In July, researchers captured 25 burrowing owls, including 13 adults. A total of 12 adult owls (six males and six females) were fitted with the GPS satellite transmitters. Researchers believe many of Wyoming's burrowing owls spend the winter months in Mexico. As of Oct. 22, the female owl transmittered on the Pinedale Mesa was spending time in Arizona. 

Additional project cooperators include University of Wyoming Chalfoun Lab, U.S. Forest Service Thunder Basin National Grasslands, Great Plains Wildlife Consulting and The Nature Conservancy with funding from Arch Coal/Black Thunder Coal and several generous private landowners.

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