Their natural predators include falcons, badgers and domestic cats and dogs, but humans pose the greatest threat to the littlest bird of prey known as the burrowing owl.
Burrowing owls are a species of concern in California because they live here in the ground, said Sherrill Cook, director of external affairs for the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek. With the ever-expanding housing we have everywhere and the kinds of habitats they need, it's a problem.
Here in East County, the naturally flat terrain, agricultural grasslands and abundance of natural prey have created an ideal habitat for the owls, but in recent years they have increasingly begun to lose their homes and their lives to the human factor: rototillers and tractors.
Lighter in weight than squirrels but similar in height, the burrowing owl stands just 9