Species to Look Out For

burrowing owl circle

Western Burrowing Owl

About the Park

Mountain View, Ca – Regional Park

Science Spotlight: Burrowing Owls at Shoreline Park

The western burrowing owl is a small species of diurnal owl, meaning that it’s active primarily during the day. True to their name, western burrowing owls nest and reside in burrows in the ground – relying on sites that have already been excavated by burrowing mammals such as the California ground squirrel.

The burrowing owl has been experiencing steep population declines over the past 30 years due to habitat loss. Their population was estimated at 640 birds in the 1980’s, with three-quarters of the population residing in the South Bay alone. In 2017, the South Bay reported just 64 adults at 5 breeding sites.

The City of Mountain View employs a part-time specialist in charge of monitoring the burrowing owls, restoring their habitat, and ensuring park plans are in line with federal and state regulations protecting the owls. Local organizations, such as the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, are also involved in initiatives to help protect the burrowing owls.

For more information on western burrowing owls in the Bay Area, check out the Bay Area Naturalist article The Bay Area’s Fight for the Western Burrowing Owl.

Park History

The area around Mountain View and Sunnyvale was once inhabited by the Ohlone Native Americans. Spanish settlers arrived in the 1700’s, and established the first missions in the area in 1777.

The area that is now Shoreline Park was formerly a dump/junk site, a hog farm, and a sewage treatment plant. In 1968, Mountain View decided to renovate the park to make the space available to the public for enjoyment of the outdoors. The park was completed in 1983, relying on garbage from San Francisco and neighboring cities to provide fill for the area.

The park is near the Rengstorff House, a historical mansion built in the 1860’s. You can also see the Shoreline Amphitheater, a popular concert venue in the Bay Area.

Visit the Park

Please note that there is no entrance fee to enter the park. Dogs are not allowed.

We recommend taking the trail from the Shoreline Boathouse parking lot towards the kite-flying area. Be sure to scan California ground squirrel burrows for burrowing owls!

Here are some helpful resources to plan your visit:

Gallery

Posted by Taylor Crisologo

Taylor studied biology at Cornell University, where she worked with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology on projects ranging from breeding herring gulls off the coast of Maine to dancing lyrebirds in Australia’s Blue Mountains. When she’s not researching great places to experience Bay Area nature, you can find her birding or reading a book at home with her fiancé Dan and their two cats (Max and Penelope).

2 Comments

  1. Beautiful article and images too. Good use of leading lines.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    1. tlynncrisologo July 25, 2018 at 9:11 pm

      Thank you very much – I appreciate the feedback!

      Like

      Reply

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