Youngster fascinated by burrowing owl

Times-Herald Staff
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It was a really good day for Owen Deenan — maybe the best day he’s ever had.

Owen Deenen multitasks. While eating a sloppy hotdog he holds a burrowing owl at the Opening Day Family BBQ at the Interpretive Centre on Saturday.

“I went on the bouncy castle, I got bit by an Egyptian rat,” he told the Times-Herald on Saturday at the Opening Day Family BBQ for the Saskatchewan Burrowing Owl Interpretive Centre.

“An Egyptian spiny mouse,” said Lori Johnson, burrowing owl coordinator at the centre, correcting the enthusiastic youngster.

“Oh, yeah that’s what they are called,” said Deenan.

Deenan was one of around 200 people who came out for a day of fun at the Interpretive Centre, which was more than last year when only 150 attended. It was a beautiful day, with very little wind and a comfortable temperature, said Johnson.

“Today was to celebrate the start of our season,” she said. “To kind of raise the awareness of the burrowing owl and some of the factors affecting them. The more people that know about that the better able we will be to actually make a difference in their lives.”

Deenen is definitely one person who is interested in becoming more aware of the burrowing owl.  As he was holding an owl he said the animal has always fascinated him.

“It’s amazing how they can actually grab stuff when they are flying and just pick things up off of the ground, even if it’s a bunny,” he said.

The Interpretive Centre opened in 1997 and started in-house tours in 2005.  The educational centre looks to educate the public on the decrease in the population of the burrowing owl.

According to Johnson a combination of factors affect the population and wellbeing of the tiny owl.

"Habitat loss or fragmentation is definitely one of the bigger (problems), but with that comes a host of other problems," said Johnson. " Our cool, wet springs the last few years haven't helped either. It isn't beneficial for nesting."

For more information on the Saskatchewan Burrowing Owl Interpretive Centre check out www.skburrowingowl.ca.

Organizations: Saskatchewan Burrowing Owl Interpretive Centre, Times-Herald

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