U.S. Fish and Wildlife help build artificial burrows to track bu - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

U.S. Fish and Wildlife help build artificial burrows to track burrowing owls in the area

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WEST RICHLAND, WA- Burrowing owls are declining precipitously in our area and are a species of concern.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife have been trying to help by creating artificial burrows, tracking the owls and later banding them.

They tell us they band them and attach radio transmitters to them, similar to a backpack-like harness, to track their movements up and down the West Coast.  On Thursday when we joined them, they banded this year’s young owls.

They go around to the artificial burrows, removing the top, banding the owls, and “burying” them back in their burrows.  Heidi Newsome is the head biologist on the project and she says "the owls go through a time period  where they can walk and they can run but they can't fly because their flight feathers haven't grown in yet, so we're trying to catch them at the time period when they're almost big enough to fly but they can't fly just yet".

At the site with the artificial burrows, there were about 15 complexes and each complex has about three artificial burrows. 

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