What is MBORP?
The Manitoba Burrowing Owl Recovery Program is a reintroduction, research, and educational organization that was established in 2010 to address the on-going decline of Burrowing Owls in southwestern Manitoba. The program began by reintroducing a small number of owl pairs in 2010 with cooperation from private landowners in southwestern Manitoba.
What is a Reintroduction?
Re-introducing species to places where they formally occurred.
Where did MBORP's "Founding" owls come from?
The first or "founding" Burrowing Owl pairs that were released in 2010 were from wild nests in southwestern Manitoba, unrelated owls from The Alberta Birds of Prey Centre in Coaldale, Alberta, and hatch-year owls born at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2009. These 10 owls (5 pairs) and were released in southwestern Manitoba for the first reintroduction of Burrowing Owls in Manitoba since 1996.
The wild population of Burrowing Owls has declined steeply and steadily since the early 1980's in Manitoba. The species is listed both provincially and federally as "Endangered" throughout their range in western Canada. In recent seasons (2009-2016), only 8 pairs and 18 individual owls have been observed or reported during the breeding season in Manitoba. In 2010 and 2011, select young were removed from wild nests. These wild young were paired with both founding owls and founding owls offspring in subsequent seasons to increase genetic diversity in MBORP's breeding program.
What are we doing?
Our program has three main goals: reintroduction, research and education.
1) Reintroductions: We want to increase MB Burrowing Owl populations through re-introductions. Our goal would be to have a healthy, self-sustaining, population of Burrowing Owls in Manitoba at approximately 23-25 pairs.
2) Research: We are collecting data from both wild and captive-release owls on:
This data will be used to better understand limitations of both populations (wild and captive-released) going forward and can contribute to updates for recovery strategies, actions plans, and other research on Burrowing Owl throughout their range.
3) Education: We want to increase public awareness about Burrowing Owls and grassland conservation by specifically targeting landowners with suitable habitat (i.e., open grassland pasture) to maintain, enhance, and improve their land for Burrowing Owls and other grassland species at risk. We meet with landowners one-on-one to discuss our voluntary landowners stewardship program which includes a short survey on their knowledge of their land (i.e., historical Burrowing Owl sightings, other grassland bird sightings) and ways to protect Burrowing Owl nests and increase nest success (i.e., installation of artificial nest burrows).
How is MBORP different from any other reintroduction program for Burrowing Owls in Canada?
Our program is unique in several ways.