Baby owls are some of the cutest animals out there, and these little burrowing owls are no exception. Oregon-based wildlife photographer Matt Poole posted videos on his Instagram of his conservation work helping to get baby burrowing owls into “housing.”
As burrowing owls, the birds nest underground, in burrows they’ve dug themselves or taken over from a prairie dog, ground squirrel, or tortoise.
However, in cases where environmental factors prevent natural burrows from being created, artificial burrows, such as pipes, can provide nests for the owl families.
The videos show Poole lifting the baby owls, one by one, out of a bucket and setting them in front of the entrance to the pipe, which is buried underground.
The adorably round bundles of fluff fit right in the palm of the photographer’s hand, and their bright yellow eyes are incredibly expressive as they stare up at him.
Many of them linger a second at the burrow’s entrance, until Poole either gives them a nudge or points them in the right direction, which causes them to scurry into their new home.
The conservation project, co-lead by Poole, installs the pipe burrows and releases the baby owls into them. “These are baby burrowing owls!” Poole explains. “They are wild and free. Because of the lack of natural burrows, the project I was apart of put in artificial burrows for them to nest in and raise their young.” Along with the project’s conservation aspect, the team collects information from the owlets to help them better understand the species, as well as coating them in a dust that kills and repels fleas, which can be a danger to the underground animals. Poole also made sure to confirm that “the handling of the birds is authorized by the correct permits.” Once the owls are in the tunnel, the humans do not care for or raise them, as they are wild birds. The parents, which are nearby when the babies are being released, continue to feed the owlets until they can take care of themselves.
Poole, who has worked on this project for three years now and is studying to become a biologist in addition to his photography career, continues to share updates on the project, and the adorable baby owls, on his Instagram.
Oregon-based wildlife photographer Matt Poole shared videos of adorable baby burrowing owls being released into their new homes as part of a conservation project.
What you can do
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Fighting for Wildlife supports approved wildlife conservation organizations, which spend at least 80 percent of the money they raise on actual fieldwork, rather than administration and fundraising. When making a donation you can designate for which type of initiative it should be used – wildlife, oceans, forests or climate.
This article by Larisa Crowder was first published by My Modern Net on July 12, 2022. Lead Image: Courtesy Matt Poole.