Burrowing Owl Killed In New Mexico; Death Leads To Police Patrol

July 10, 2016 | By Garrett Montgomery More

A burrowing owl killed in New Mexico has prompted wildlife officials to place several patrols in the area. According to experts, the burrowing owl was shot while flying over the Caja del Rio area.

Burrowing owl New Mexico

The killing of a burrowing owl in New Mexico has sparked anger and prompted an investigation into the matter. On June 27, bird watcher Julie Luetzelschwab spotted two burrowing owls and happily photographed them.

The long-legged owls were seen in the Caja del Rio area, which is an 84,000-acre volcanic land in northern Santa Fe County, New Mexico. On June 30, one of the two owls went missing and was found several days later.

The bright-eyed bird was found dead and X-rays showed that it was shot while it was in mid-flight. A federal land management official said:

“One leg was missing and the wings were spread as if it had been flying when it was struck. showed shrapnel in the bird’s left wing and shoulder blade.”

Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Donna Hummel revealed that while the killing of burrowing owls is rare, they are taken very seriously. Hummel stated that the species, which are only found in North and South America, are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Santa Fe New Mexican. Hummel shared:

“There are lots of eyes and ears and people that care about wildlife here in New Mexico. And (the shooter’s) illegal actions are not going to go unnoticed.”

Defenders of Wildlife estimates there are 10,000 pairs of burrowing owls nationwide. The burrowing owl once lived all over the planet, but due deforestation, the 20,000 burrowing owls left in the Americas are now considered endangered in Canada, threatened in Mexico, and a species of special concern in Florida and most of the western USA. It is a state threatened species in Colorado.

Whitfield Wildlife Conservation Area manager Ted Hodoba said that he does not expect the authorities to catch the hunter, who killed it, which is why they will take measures to protect the birds. Hodoba explained:

“It is just cruelty. There is no real reason or excuse to do that. All species, in my opinion, have the right to exist, so we have to figure out how to do that as humans.”

He added:

“Our job on public land is to protect them to the best of our ability. And we do that with a lot of help from the community.”

If the shooter is ever caught, he or she could spend at least six months in prison and be ordered to pay a $500 fine. More on burrowing owls:

“The owls nest in an underground burrow, hence the name burrowing owl.This species can live for at least 9 years in the wild.Burrowing owls have bright eyes; their beaks can be dark yellow or gray depending on the subspecies. Adults have brown heads and wings with white spotting. The chest and abdomen are white with variable brown spotting or barring, also depending on the subspecies. Juvenile owls are similar in appearance, but they lack most of the white spotting above and brown barring below.”

What are your thoughts on the burrowing owl death in New Mexico?


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