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Burrowing Owl Conservation Campaign 2023

Burrowing Owl Conservation Project
Raised toward our $15,000 Goal
4 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on September 15, at 11:59 PM MST
Project Owners

Support the Burrowing Owl Conservation Project

Help us help this species of concern. 

Rapid development in the Phoenix metro area displaces 400+ burrowing owls each year. ASU College of Integrative Sciences and Arts applied biology faculty and students knew they could help this vulnerable owl population — and that the birds could also help our students.

In May 2021 our faculty and students partnered with Wild At Heart, a raptor rescue organization, and relocated two burrowing owl pairs into a colony of 12 burrows constructed to support breeding and nesting activity at the ASU Polytechnic campus. These owls successfully bred and sustained seven nestlings. Now the fledglings are learning to forage in this habitat — and ASU students and the greater community are learning more about this important species.

Contributing to the survival of these owls is a pressing conservation issue. Burrowing owls are deemed a species of conservation concern in Arizona and protected under the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Your donation will have a direct impact on the owls and support hands-on student learning in courses and research experiences focused on:

  • Habitat restoration of the burrow sites with native shrubs to provide cover and food resources.
  • Non-invasive methods of observing owls to document dietary preference and activity schedules.
  • Exploring when and where owls go to forage around campus.
  • Learning what environmental factors are important to owls during breeding and for the survival of young.. 

The faculty hope to eventually secure funds to establish an endowment that would support a student research assistantship in perpetuity.

The Burrowing Owl Conservation Project is already being used to communicate science and a greater understanding of urban wildlife, in outreach with schools, nonprofits, and the general public in the East Valley. On October 23, 2021, the inaugural "Owl-o-ween" welcomed the public to a meet-and-greet with education burrowing owls and tours of the Polytechnic campus habitat. 

In fall 2021, students in applied biological sciences courses began talking fieldwork observations on the owls and making improvements to the burrow habitat. Read the ASU News story "ASU Owl Burrows Get an Upgrade"

In fall 2022, green energy leader Orsted made a gift to the Burrowing Owl Conservation Project to that will fund research focused on identifying the overlap between burrowing owl habitats and areas of high solar project potential in Arizona. Read the ASU News story "Where Burrowing Owls, Green Energy meet".

Today, the Burrowing Owl Conservation Project is making a tremendous impact in the community and is providing students with exceptional hands-on, experiential learning opportunities. In the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, several programs are working together to study new ideas and connections, from User Experience to Applied Biological Sciences. The project continues to be an integral part of the Polytechnic campus and your support ensures continuous success and impact.

Recent improvement work in 2023

Meet some of our previous owls

Owl #1

Tag #09/X-Black


Weight at arrival: 164 g

Relocated from: Baseline Rd & Turner, Buckeye, AZ

Right eye intense yellow and left eye more green. Feather observed hanging off to side. Seen scanning the sky for predators, grooming foot.

Owl #2

Tag #20/X-Black


Weight at arrival: 158 g

Relocated from: Baseline Rd & Turner, Buckeye, AZ

Very vocal, using a range of calls during soft release at burrow site — clicking and screeching. Seen grooming on perch in early morning. Pronounced white beard area. Winked on day of tenting.

Owl #3

Tag #04/D Green


Weight at arrival: 142 g

Relocated from: Baseline Rd & Turner, Buckeye, AZ

Distinguished eyebrows. Observed sitting on a perch early in the morning. White stripe on chest. Short distance between neck fringe and eye fringe. Stayed on perch even with human observer present for long period. Loud voicing at May relocation.

Owl #4

Tag #36/AH-Green ["Marathon"]


Weight at arrival: 150 g

Relocated from: Baseline Rd & Turner, Buckeye, AZ

Stuck very close to burrow entrance during observation. This owl had a leg injury when first recovered by Wild at Heart and required additional treatment and healing time before release, thus her arrival with the name "Marathon."

All funds will be deposited with the ASU Foundation for A New American University, a nonprofit organization that exists to support Arizona State University (ASU). Gifts in support of ASU are subject to foundation policies and fees. Due to the fair market value of benefits received, only payments in excess of fair market value may be considered a charitable contribution. Please consult your tax advisor regarding the deductibility of charitable contributions.

Choose a giving level


Gives owls a boost

Pays for seed, mulch, PVC pipe, owl perches. Thank you for your support of burrowing owl conservation!


Funds equipment and supplies

Provides supplies like lithium batteries for wildlife cameras, locks to secure them to posts, binoculars, shovels. Thank you for supporting the many day-to-day expenses in sustaining and improving the owl habitat — and applied learning!


Purchases a wildlife camera

Wildlife cameras help us document owls' foraging habits, diets, and other behavior and activity. They also help assess predator activity near owl burrows. Thanks for helping us learn more about the daily lives of burrowing owls!


Helps with habitat restoration

Help us add plants and other materials to boost the foraging habitat around burrow sites. Your support will ensure burrowing owls are the apex species in this little ecosystem.


Funds a student researcher

Allows a student to give focused attention to the burrowing owl project for one semester as a research assistant. Thank you for advancing the conservation community's knowledge of burrowing owls, an under-studied species!

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