Surveys show the owl’s population has dropped from about 5,600 pairs in the early 1990s to 3,557 pairs in 2008. The agricultural area had been considered a stronghold for the species.By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
An alarming decline in the number of burrowing owls in the Imperial Valley — a Southern California agricultural area that had been considered a stronghold for the species — has prompted calls for an immediate inquiry by state wildlife authorities.
Surveys by the Imperial Irrigation District show the burrowing owl population has dropped from about 5,600 pairs in the early 1990s to 4,879 pairs in 2007 and 3,557 pairs in 2008.
“We’ve seen a 27% drop in one year alone,” said Jeff Miller, a conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity. “If there is a similar drop next year, this bird could disappear in California.”