Great Basin Naturalist


Food habits of Burrowing Owls (Speotyto cunicularia) were studied during the breeding seasons of 1990 and 1991 in central Colorado. Concurrent insect availability studies were conducted to determine selection for specific insect families. Analysis of 1445 castings indicated use of only one insect family, the carrion beetles (Silphidae), at a rate greater than expected based on availability in one year. Castings and prey remains showed different dietary components. Prey remains showed greater use of small mammals, moths, amphibians, and passerines, and castings indicated greater use of mice and beetles. Methodology in raptor food habits studies may therefore bias results.