2016-07-20 / Features

Look Hoo’s New At Queens Zoo!


Three burrowing owl owlets have hatched at WCS’s Queens Zoo. Having hatched sometime in late May or early June, the owlets began appearing outside their burrows in mid-June. Unlike most owls, burrowing owls are active during the day. 
Photos Julie Larsen Maher © WCS Three burrowing owl owlets have hatched at WCS’s Queens Zoo. Having hatched sometime in late May or early June, the owlets began appearing outside their burrows in mid-June. Unlike most owls, burrowing owls are active during the day. Photos Julie Larsen Maher © WCS Three burrowing owl owlets have hatched at WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society’s) Queens Zoo.

The owlets hatched sometime in late May or early June and began to appear outside their burrows in mid-June. Burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) typically nest in burrows dug by prairie dogs or other ground dwelling animals, but will sometimes do their own excavating. Females lay eggs in the burrow and incubate them for 30 days. While incubating the eggs, the male owl will bring his mate food. Upon hatching, owlets are fed by both parents in the burrow for several weeks before venturing out of the burrow.

The Queens Zoo created the burrowing owl exhibit last year. Including the new youngsters, there are now a total of nine owls in the group. They share their exhibit with thick-billed parrots and roadrunners.

Unlike most owls, burrowing owls are active during the day. They tend to avoid midday heat and do most of their hunting at dawn and dusk, when they can utilize their keen vision.

The species once ranged throughout much of North America and portions of Central and South America. Burrowing owls inhabit open grasslands, deserts, and other habitats with low vegetation. Populations are declining in Canada and the western United States due to habitat loss for land development and prairie dog eradication. Land development also threatens their population in Florida. Ironically, the species’ population has increased in portions of Central and South America due to deforestation.

The Queens Zoo is located at 53-51 111th Street in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. For further information, call 718-271-1500 or visit www.queenszoo.com.

WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. For more information visit www.WCS.org or call 347-840-1242.

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