Experts Warn Not To Feed Burrowing Owls And Other Protected Bird Species

By Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez
Published: Tuesday, March 3, 2015 - 5:27pm
Updated: Tuesday, March 3, 2015 - 5:40pm
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(Photo by Bruce Taubert/ Arizona Game and Fish Department)
Burrowing Owl

It’s nesting season for many birds, including burrowing owls. The birds are often seen throughout the Valley. It’s a protected species and feeding them is against the law. 

Burrowing owls are small, long-legged birds that live and nest underground. They’re most active during the day. Experts like Bob Fox, founder of raptor rescue center Wild at Heart, say people try to get close to the owls and feed them. The burrowing owl, like many other birds, is protected under the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Tampering with their nests, habitat and feeding them is illegal. 

“It’s considered harassment in a way," Fox said. "You are interfering with their natural progression in life. The only time you can really handle our native birds is if they’re injured and you’re getting them to someone to help them.”

Penalties for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act include fines of up to $500 or up to six months in jail. It’s even greater for the loss of a bird.

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