Species Profile

Burrowing Owl

Scientific Name: Athene cunicularia
Other/Previous Names: Speotyto cunicularia
Taxonomy Group: Birds
COSEWIC Range: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: April 2017
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: A2bc+4bc
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This grassland owl has suffered ongoing large declines across much of its North American range. The Canadian population was reduced by 90% from 1990 to 2000, and by a further 64% between 2005 and 2015. Most of the remaining individuals are in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. In recent years small numbers have been counted in British Columbia and Manitoba due largely to captive breeding and release programs.  The loss of grassland habitat and suitable burrows has been compounded by a reduction in prey populations, and concurrent increases in predation, vehicle collisions, expansion of renewable energy, and severe weather events.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Threatened in April 1979. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 1991. Status re-examined and designated Endangered in April 1995. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2000, April 2006, and April 2017.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2003-06-05

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | Recovery Team | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl Photo 1

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Description

Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia) are small, long-legged predators of the open prairie closely associated with burrowing mammals such as American Badger, Black-tailed Prairie Dog, Coyote, and foxes, and secondarily with Richardson’s Ground Squirrels. Adult Burrowing Owls are intricately coloured with a mix of brown, white, and beige spotting. Juveniles are more richly coloured in dark brown and cream. Adults and young are relatively conspicuous when they are active during the day and at dusk in summer, foraging from elevated mounds and fence posts in open, prairie habitats, and hover hunting. Otherwise they are inconspicuous and easily overlooked for most of the year. Burrowing Owls were once a common element of the landscape in the Prairies and southern interior of British Columbia. They are now rare throughout their Canadian range, and declining everywhere except in the core of their range in the US. Burrowing Owl is a charismatic flagship species for conservation of native prairie communities. [Updated 19/01/2018]

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Distribution and Population

Burrowing Owls are widely distributed within appropriate habitat in the Americas, from Canada to southern South America. In Canada, they have a disjunct breeding distribution. A small (reintroduced) population breeds in the Thompson-Nicola and Okanagan valleys of southcentral British Columbia, while the main prairie population breeds from southcentral Alberta east through southern Saskatchewan. A small number of reintroduced pairs have reoccupied southwestern Manitoba after being extirpated as a breeding species there for a number of years. In the United States, Burrowing Owls breed from the Great Plains westward, with a disjunct subspecies resident in Florida (A. c. floridana). Canadian Burrowing Owls winter primarily in Mexico and the southwestern United States (e.g., south Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California). The breeding range of Burrowing Owls in Canada has shrunk in the past 40 years to less than half of the range occupied in the 1970s, and to only one-third of the range occupied in the early 1900s.Data from intensive and extensive Burrowing Owl surveys suggest a continuing significant decrease in density in all areas of prairie Canada over the past 40 years, including a 90% population decline from 1990 to 2000, and further declines from 2005-2015 of 76% in Saskatchewan and 45% in Alberta. In Canada, the current population size can be approximated by considering rate of change in relation to previous estimates. The most recent estimate of population size in 2004 was a minimum of 795 mature individuals: 498 in Saskatchewan, 288 in Alberta, and 9 in British Columbia. Based on rates of decline since 2004, population estimates as of 2015 were 106 in Saskatchewan and 148 in Alberta. In 2015, the BC population of wild owls was 16 and in Manitoba it was zero. Thus, the minimum Canadian population estimate as of 2015 is approximately 270 owls. In the U.S., populations of Burrowing Owls are thought to be stable in the core of the species’ range (i.e., Colorado, New Mexico, Texas), but declining in California, in states along the eastern edge of the species’ range, and in the northern states that border Canada. Though population trends in Mexico are unknown, wintering owl populations have declined in Texas and California, where some of Canada’s breeding population spends the winter.[Updated 19/01/2018]

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Habitat

Preferred habitat of Burrowing Owls is open, sparsely vegetated grasslands with burrows excavated by Black-tailed Prairie Dogs, American Badgers, Coyotes, foxes, and ground squirrels. Foraging habitat is generally in and around nesting sites during the day, but at night, owls may forage further afield and in areas with denser grasses and forbs. On the wintering grounds, habitat includes open grasslands, agricultural fields, and scrubland.[Updated 19/01/2018]

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Biology

Burrowing Owls return to Canadian breeding areas during April and May and nest in existing burrows created by fossorial mammals. In Canada, clutches are initiated in May, with an average of nine eggs (range = 5-14). Typically, a single brood is raised, although pairs that fail may lay a second (smaller) clutch. Family groups remain together until late August, then disperse to individual burrows before migrating southward in September and October.[Updated 19/01/2018]

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Threats

Threats Historically, the ultimate factor responsible for the decline in Burrowing Owls in Canada was the conversion of grassland to cropland, as well as the fragmentation and degradation of remaining grasslands. However, reductions in prey populations, climate change and severe weather, vehicle collisions, effects from the expansion of renewable energy, and predation may be the biggest current threats to Burrowing Owls. Limiting Factors Factors that limit the Burrowing Owl’s population in Canada are low productivity, high nest failures, low post-fledging survival, and high annual dispersal (net emigration to the US and Mexico). [Updated 19/01/2018]

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Burrowing Owl is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) in Canada [Revised proposed version]
Status Final posting on SAR registry

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Recovery Team

Burrowing Owl Recovery Team

  • Troy Wellicome - Chair/Contact - Environment Canada
    Phone: 780-951-8671  Fax: 780-495-2615  Send Email

Burrowing Owl Recovery Team (Alberta)

  • Brandy Downey - Chair/Contact - Government of Alberta
    Phone: 403-381-5526  Send Email

Burrowing Owl RIG (BC)

  • John Surgenor - Chair/Contact - Government of BC
    Phone: 250-371-6306  Fax: 250-828-4000  Send Email

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Recovery Progress and Activities

Summary of Progress to Date Monitoring efforts over the past 10 years have documented the Burrowing Owl's significant decline in Canada. Population models show that low productivity, high juvenile mortality and/or unknown dispersal of juveniles are the major factors implicated in the decline of this species. Experimental release of captive bred owls in British Columbia has met with some success. Many of the more than 250 one-year-old owls that were released mated and produced young in subsequent years. In the spring of 2002, four of the owls released in British Columbia the previous year, along with three older adults, returned to the same area, and some of those owls produced young. There is strong support from landowners in all provinces. Stewardship programs are in place in British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan to protect nesting owls and their habitat. Summary of Research/Monitoring Activities Systematic field surveys have been conducted over multiple years in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. These surveys have increased knowledge of Burrowing Owl distribution, abundance, reproduction, survival, diet, and habitat use. Research has also focused on identifying the owl’s migratory routes, locating wintering grounds in Mexico and Texas, and determining rates of winter survival. Conducting studies on both the breeding and wintering grounds is important for helping to understand the cause of the species decline and identifying ways to reverse that decline. Summary of Recovery Activities Many recovery activities for the Burrowing Owl are geared towards the general public, particularly landowners, as Burrowing Owls are often found on private lands. In the late 1980s, Operation Burrowing Owl and Operation Grassland Community were launched in Saskatchewan and Alberta respectively. These initiatives involve landowners in the protection of nesting habitat by encouraging private land stewardship through voluntary habitat conservation agreements. To date, tens of thousands of acres of native prairie habitats have been protected through these two initiatives. Other public outreach activities include the Owls on Tour Program which travels to rural schools in southern Saskatchewan to raise awareness of the Burrowing Owl and its habitat requirements, and The Saskatchewan Burrowing Owl Interpretive Centre which opened in Moose Jaw in 1997 and allows visitors to view live Burrowing Owls, and increase their awareness and understanding of grassland conservation. Recovery activities have also focused on enhancing the quality of existing habitat and releasing captive-reared young to bolster population numbers. To increase the survival of Burrowing Owls, artificial nest burrows and supplemental food are often provided. Extensive work has been done to reduce the impact of well-site and pipeline construction on Burrowing Owls. This ongoing work resulted in the development of guidelines for the petroleum industry that detail how to minimize the impact of activities that affect Burrowing Owls and other species at risk. URLs http://www.pnr-rpn.ec.gc.ca/nature/endspecies/burrowing/db04s09.en.html

Hinterland Who's Who: Burrowing Owl: http://www.hww.ca/hww2.asp?id=32

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

23 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Assessment and status report on the Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia in Canada (2018-01-18)

    Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia)are small, long-legged predators of the open prairie closely associated with burrowing mammals such as American Badger, Richardson’s Ground Squirrel, Black-tailed Prairie Dog, Coyote, and foxes. Adult Burrowing Owls are intricately coloured with a mix of brown, white, and beige spotting. Juveniles are more richly coloured in dark brown and cream. Adults and young are relatively conspicuous when they are active during the day and at dusk in summer, foraging from elevated mounds and fence posts in open, prairie habitats, and hover hunting. Otherwise they are inconspicuous and easily overlooked for most of the year.
  • COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia in Canada (2006-08-29)

    Burrowing Owls are small, long-legged predators of the open prairie with a close association with burrowing mammals such as ground squirrels (Spermophilus spp.), badgers (Taxidea taxus), and prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.). Adults are drably coloured with a mix of brown, white, and beige spotting. Juveniles are more richly coloured in dark brown and cream. Adults and young are relatively conspicuous because of their tendency to be active during the day, foraging from elevated mounds or fenceposts in open, prairie habitats.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Burrowing Owl (2018-01-18)

    This grassland owl has suffered ongoing large declines across much of its North American range. The Canadian population was reduced by 90% from 1990 to 2000, and by a further 64% between 2005 and 2015. Most of the remaining individuals are in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. In recent years small numbers have been counted in British Columbia and Manitoba due largely to captive breeding and release programs.  The loss of grassland habitat and suitable burrows has been compounded by a reduction in prey populations, and concurrent increases in predation, vehicle collisions, expansion of renewable energy, and severe weather events.
  • Response Statements - Burrowing Owl (2006-11-29)

    This grassland owl has suffered significant declines across its North American range; Canadian populations declined 90% in the 1990s and the species is essentially extirpated from British Columbia and Manitoba. This population decline slowed somewhat between 1994 and 2004, but remained at approximately 57%. The true cause or causes of this widespread decline remain unknown.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) in Canada (2012-05-25)

    The Burrowing Owl was officially listed as Endangered under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) in June 2003. SARA (Section 37) requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed extirpated, endangered, or threatened species. TThe Canadian Wildlife Service Prairie and Northern Region, Environment Canada led the development of this recovery strategy, in cooperation with the British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Saskatchewan Environment, Manitoba Conservation, Parks Canada Agency, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the Department of National Defence (Canadian Forces Base Suffield).

Action Plans

  • Action Plan for Multiple Species at Risk in Southwestern Saskatchewan: South of the Divide (2017-11-20)

    The Minister of Environment is the competent minister under SARA for the recovery of the species on lands covered by this action plan and has prepared it to partially implement the associated recovery strategies, as per section 49 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with the Government of Saskatchewan (Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Water Security Agency, Ministry of the Economy) and with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Parks Canada Agency.
  • Multi-species Action Plan for Grasslands National Park of Canada (2016-07-05)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for Grasslands National Park of Canada applies to lands and waters occurring within the boundaries of Grasslands National Park of Canada (GNP). The plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species At Risk Act (SARA s.47) for species requiring an action plan and that regularly occur at this site. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur at GNP.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2006 (2006-08-30)

    2006 Annual Report to the The Minister of the Environment and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
  • COSEWIC Annual Report 2016 to 2017 (2017-10-24)

    Over the past year COSEWIC re-examined the status of 40 wildlife species; of these, the majority (78 %) were reassessed at the same or lower level of risk. Of a total of 73 species assessed 11 were assigned the status of Not at Risk (8 re-assessments and 3 new assessments). To date and with the submission of this report, COSEWIC’s assessments now include 735 wildlife species in various risk categories including 321 Endangered, 172 Threatened, 219 Special Concern and 23 Extirpated (i.e. - no longer found in the wild in Canada). In addition 16 species have been assessed as Extinct, 58 have been designated as Data Deficient and 186 were assessed and assigned Not at Risk status.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing permit(#GRA-2005-1222), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2005-05-01)

    The objective of this study is to survey the burrowing owl population and determine productivity in Grasslands National Park and across the entire range of the species in Canada. This is the second year of a coordinated effort to determine long distance dispersal for burrowing owls between study sites in Alberta and Saskatchewan. 861 owls were banded last year, including 77 in Grasslands National Park and vicinity. Using two comparative methods, band returns and stable isotope analysis of owl feathers, researchers will determine to what extent the low return rate of juvenile owls is explained by dispersal. To this extent, more owls will be captured and banded this year and monitored next year and feathers will be collected from each individual.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#GRA-2009-2132), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2009-04-03)

    The objectives of this project are to determine the total burrowing owl population nesting on prairie dog towns in GNP, presence of banded owls, and arrival and departure dates. Prairie dog colonies will be monitored from a nearby height of land using a scope/binoculars following established protocols (typically >300m from the prairie dog colony). All burrowing owl nest locations will be GPS'd. All adults will be checked for band status with scope or motion sensitive camera left at nest. They will be placed on the ground approximately 1 to 3 meters from the burrow and camouflaged by placing a cow patty on top of them and will be in place for 1 to 3 days.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#GRA-2010-5273), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2010-05-12)

    The purpose of the study is to monitor the annual movements of burrowing owls by attaching back pack satellite radio transmitters to five adult burrowing owls, using newly developed 5 gram solar satellite transmitters. Owls will be trapped in their burrows using one-way door traps placed in the entrance of the burrow. Owls will be placed in a small cardboard box with air holes. All owls caught in the traps, whether adult or juvenile, will be weighed, measured, and banded with a color and aluminium leg band. In addition, a small feather sample will be collected from each owl by cutting 1 centimeter of tail feather for radio isotope analyses. Owls will be released within 15 minutes of capture and monitored from a safe distance. Motion triggered infrared cameras will be used at some nests to obtain the number of fledglings and to see leg bands. Nests will be examined by placing a video probe down the nest hole to determine the stage of nesting and to determine nest failures and cause.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#GRA-2011-8472), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2011-05-01)

    The purpose of the study is to monitor the annual movements of burrowing owls by attaching back pack satellite radio transmitters to five adult burrowing owls, using newly developed 5 gram solar satellite transmitters. Owls will be trapped in their burrows using one-way door traps placed in the entrance of the burrow. Owls will be placed in a small cardboard box with air holes. All owls caught in the traps, whether adult or juvenile, will be weighed, measured, and banded with a color and aluminium leg band. In addition, a small feather sample will be collected from each owl by cutting 1 centimeter of tail feather for radio isotope analyses. Owls will be released within 15 minutes of capture and monitored from a safe distance. Motion triggered infrared cameras will be used at some nests to obtain the number of fledglings and to see leg bands. Nests will be examined by placing a video probe down the nest hole to determine the stage of nesting and to determine nest failures and cause.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#GRA-2014-16076 ), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2014-05-01)

    Purpose To monitor the total burrowing owl population nesting on prairie dog towns in Grasslands National Park, nesting success, presence of banded owls, and arrival and departure dates. The data collected will inform subsequent management actions concerning burrowing owls in Grasslands National Park. This research will report on the number of nest attempts and owlets produced within the park and identify how that number is changing over time. Prairie dog colonies will be monitored from a nearby height of land using a scope/binoculars following established protocols (typically >300m from the prairie dog colony). All burrowing owl nest locations will be GPS'd. Initial nest attempt surveys are done in May and all nests will be visited again in July to count the size of the brood. Some motion cameras may be used to do brood counts if they are too difficult at a distance. They will be placed on the ground approximately 1 to 3 meters from the burrow and camouflaged by placing a cow patty on top of them. Cameras will be left out overnight and retrieved the next day to minimize disturbance. This is the best way to collect population data without negatively impacting the species or interfering with its daily activities. This research is linked to the Recovery Strategy (2012) as a standard survey available to estimate the number of breeding owls in Canada. The burrowing owl surveys are required to determine the current population and distribution of the species as compared to the short-term objective (pp 19, Environment Canada 2012). Environment Canada. 2012. Recovery Strategy for the Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) in Canada. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. viii + 34 pp.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SAR-2020-0005), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2020-04-01)

    Activities listed in this permit are associated with the implementation of a surveillance and management program for sylvatic plague, a disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, a non-native pathogen to North America and identified as the major threat to black-tailed prairie dogs and black-footed ferret recovery throughout the species' range. Activities include i) sampling of burrows and individual black-tailed prairie dogs to collect fleas; ii) rapid plague surveillance on colonies from advantage points; iii) search of carcasses on the ground; iv) application of insecticide (i.e., burrow dusting) as preventive or emergency management tool to halt sylvatic plague transmission; and v) distribution of sylvatic plague vaccine baits. Residual adverse effects include harassment of black-tailed prairie dogs (e.g., disturbance and alarm) and Burrowing Owls (e.g., disruption of foraging patterns, fleeing behaviour) in specific colony sections during field operations (i.e., burrow swabbing, burrow dusting, distribution of sylvatic plague vaccine), potential adverse effects caused by direct exposure to deltamethrin (i.e., DeltaDust) for juvenile black-tailed prairie dogs and Burrowing Owls, as well as indirect impact of deltamethrin on invertebrate abundance for Burrowing Owls.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PNR-2007-0058), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2007-05-28)

    There are two main components to the work proposed on Burrowing Owls, population monitoring and the use of nest boxes. Population Monitoring - Burrowing Owl populations have been monitored continually on the Regina Plain since 1986. This long data has been among the most important components of our understanding of the decline of Burrowing Owl populations across the Prairie Provinces. Nest boxes - Nest boxes are constructed of plywood, corrugated weeping tile and plastic buckets. The boxes are buried underground and effectively serve as a replica of a badger or ground squirrel burrow that the Burrowing Owls would naturally nest in.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PNR-2008-0087), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2008-05-13)

    Surveys for Burrowing Owl nests using call playbacks. Placing infra red video cameras down nest burrows to confirm nest status. Capture of adult males to attach GPS micro data loggers to monitor local movements. Removal of one tail feather from adults for stable isotope analysis. Capture, band and measure individuals for ongoing monitoring.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PNR-2010-0139), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2010-05-01)

    This is a permit amendment: original expiry date 2011-10-01 now 2013-04-29, up to 20 transmitters instead of 5, and the location Blood Indian Reserve added. The purpose of the study is to monitor the annual movements of burrowing owls by attaching back pack satellite radio transmitters to five adult burrowing owls, using newly developed 5 gram solar satellite transmitters. Owls will be trapped in their burrows using one-way door traps placed in the entrance of the burrow. Owls will be placed in a small cardboard box with air holes. All owls caught in the traps, whether adult or juvenile, will be weighed, measured, and banded with a color and aluminium leg band. In addition, a small feather sample will be collected from each owl by cutting 1 centimeter of tail feather for radio isotope analyses. Owls will be released within 15 minutes of capture and monitored from a safe distance. Motion triggered infrared cameras will be used at some nests to obtain the number of fledglings and to identify leg bands. Nests will be examined by placing a video probe down the nest hole to determine the stage of nesting and to determine nest failures and cause.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PNR-2011-0168), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2011-05-03)

    This is a permit amendment, to add the following locations: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada community pastures (Fairview, Mantario, Monet, Newcombe, Kindersley-Elma, Masefield, Shamrock, Swift-current Webb, Gull Lake, Battle Creek, Big Stick, Bitter Lake, Govenlock, Reno 1&2, Nashlyn). Approximately 75-100 Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) nests will be located in Alberta and Saskatchewan each year using call playbacks. When a nest is located, infra-red video cameras will be placed in the nest burrows to confirm nest status and number of occupants. We will capture 30 adult male owls to attach GPS micro-dataloggers and 30 geolocators to monitor local movements and migration routes, respectively. Individual owls will also be captured, banded and measured for ongoing monitoring. Juvenile owls will be captured at approximately 20 days old. One tail feather from adults, and one breast feather from one young in each nest, will be removed for stable isotope analysis and DNA work. Two cameras will be temporarily set up at burrows to monitor food delivery. This field work is designed to help define Critical Habitat for Burrowing Owls and to determine the effects of military activity on owls.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act Terrestrial Species: December 2006 (2006-12-28)

    The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, hereinafter referred to as the 'SARA list'. Canadians are invited to comment on whether all or some of the species included in this document should be added to the SARA list. Please submit your comments by March 16, 2007 for species undergoing normal consultations and by March 14, 2008 for species undergoing extended consultations.
  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species January 2018 (2018-01-26)

    The Government of Canada is committed to preventing the disappearance of wildlife species at risk from our lands. As part of its strategy for realizing that commitment, on June 5, 2003, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species provided for under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species on Schedule 1 benefit from the protection afforded by the prohibitions and from recovery planning requirements under SARA. Special Concern species benefit from its management planning requirements. Schedule 1 has grown from the original 233 to 555 wildlife species at risk. In 2017, final listing decisions were made for 44 terrestrial species and 15 aquatic species. Of these 59 species, 35 were new additions, sixteen were reclassifications, three had a change made to how they are defined, two were removed from Schedule 1, one was referred back to COSEWIC for further evaluation and two were the object of ‘do not list’ decisions. In 2017, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, the Governor in Council approved listing proposals for 45 wildlife species. It is proposed that 21 species be added to Schedule 1, 11 be reclassified, 12 would have a change made to how they are defined, and one would be referred back to COSEWIC for further evaluation. The listing proposals were published in Canada Gazette, part I for a 30-day public comment period and final listing decisions for all 45 species are expected by August of 2018. Please submit your comments by May 22, 2018, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultations and by October 22, 2018, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations. For a description of the consultation paths these species will undergo, please visit the Species at Risk Public Registry (SAR) website.

Residence Description

  • Residence Description - Burrowing Owl (2005-05-09)

    The following is a description of residence for the Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia), created for the purposes of increasing public awareness and aiding enforcement of the above prohibition. Burrowing Owls are known to have two different types of residences - nest burrows and roost burrows.

Critical Habitat Descriptions in the Canada Gazette

  • Description of critical habitat of the Burrowing Owl in Grasslands National Park (2012-08-04)

    The Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) is a species listed on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act as endangered. The Burrowing Owl is a small, brownish owl that has bright yellow eyes, a rounded head (i.e. no ear tufts), a short tail, and noticeably long legs. Critical habitat for the Burrowing Owl is identified within the final Recovery Strategy for the species as the limits of the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies in Canada based on their boundaries mapped in 2007.
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