Lauren Meads at work at one of the burrowing owl dens. More volunteers are needed for this Friday’s work party. Western News file photo

Volunteers who give a hoot wanted for burrowing owl work party

A few more volunteers are needed to staff the burrowing owl work party Friday

Additional volunteers are needed for this Friday’s work party in support of the at-risk burrowing owl.

According to Lauren Meads, executive director of the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society of B.C., the spots opened up after several last-minute cancellations.

“So far we have 18 people signed up but we would love to have 25 people,” said Meads, whose organization has worked to help the species recover for over two decades. “This is one of our better sites, so we want to improve the burrows for the owls because there were some that got flooded in the spring.

“We want to make sure they have good dry homes for the spring when they come back.”

This is actually one of three work sessions through a pilot project in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund Canada.

“This is in an effort to make people a bigger part of the solution to wildlife loss in Canada,” said Meads.

“This is also an opportunity to see burrowing owls in their natural habitat and meet education burrowing owl, Pluto.”

The owls have already begun their annual fall migration south to California and Mexico.

At the site, a large field on private property just north of the Nighthawk – Chopaka border crossing east of Cawston, there are currently about 30 burrows.

Related: Down and dirty for South Okanagan burrowing owls

Lunch and tools will be provided and participants are asked to dress for the weather, the work goes ahead rain or shine, bring gloves and extra water.

As well on that day, volunteers will also have a chance to learn more about the species and the challenges associated with returning its numbers to traditional levels.

Devika Shah, a senior manager of strategic initiatives for the WWF, will be on hand to provide information about the work of her organization.

During the 1990s, populations of this charismatic grassland bird dropped by approximately 90 per cent due to habitat conversion.

Habitat loss, namely a lack of suitable burrows, is one of the biggest threats to burrowing owls today.

Once installed, the newly constructed burrows will provide much-needed nesting habitat and help support the survival of burrowing owls in the wild.

Friday’s session will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and volunteers are asked to meet at the Osoyoos Visitor Centre at 9912 BC-3 Osoyoos.

For more information and to register online go to burrowingowlbc.org.

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