The winter home ranges, foraging habitats, and roost characteristics of migrant Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia) have not been described in central Mexico. This information is needed to prioritize habitat conservation measures because the species is in decline across much of western North America. We used VHF telemetry to describe the foraging range, habitat use, and roost sites of 17 Burrowing Owls in two study areas: Irapuato and Zapopan, Mexico. Burrowing Owls did not forage in the daytime. Cropland and grasslands made up the majority of the owls' foraging ranges, which averaged 70 ha. Burrowing Owls responded quickly and opportunistically to changes in land uses that removed tall dense vegetation, such as the harvest of tall crops, and fires. Distances from foraging areas to roost sites averaged 514–751 m, but varied widely from 32–1981 m. Roost characteristics were highly variable between study sites. Overall, Burrowing Owls incorporated anthropogenic land uses into their winter habitat needs.
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Vol. 52 • No. 2