Action timeline

April 7, 2003 – The Center and five allies petitioned to protect the California population of the western burrowing owl under the California Endangered Species Act.

December 4, 2003 – The California Fish and Game Commission voted 4-0 to reject our burrowing owl petition, based in part on a second contradictory agency report blatantly biased against listing and widely criticized by conservationists and owl experts as fraught with inaccuracies and inconsistencies.

February 2, 2004 – Documents obtained by environmental groups through a California Public Records Act request reveal that the California Department of Fish and Game suppressed an agency report recommending that the western burrowing owl be considered for endangered or threatened status under the California Endangered Species Act.

September 22, 2010 – New surveys showed a 27-percent drop in the number of breeding burrowing owls in California’s Imperial Valley, providing some of the most striking evidence yet that the species is badly in need of state protections.

November 21, 2013 – A coalition of conservation and environmental justice groups filed a legal challenge today to the city of San Diego’s development proposal that would destroy sensitive wetland and burrowing owl habitat at the Brown Field Municipal Airport. The lawsuit follows outrage within the environmental community last year after a report surfaced documenting the destruction and poisoning of burrowing owl homes at the Brown Field airport.

Female burrowing owl and owlet athene cunicularia photo by Kevin Cole.