Being a Colorado Native, I have tremendous respect for the local wildlife and still stand in awe at the amazing sunsets. We were the first home in our area so we had the privilege of witnessing National Geographic-like footage unfold in our own backyard. I speak in the past tense because the packs of coyotes, red foxes, and other cool wildlife have moved on as a result of irresponsible urban sprawl.
These photos of burrowing owls (a species now on the CO Department of Wildlife treatened list) were taken by me in my neighborhood just one month ago. As you can see from a couple of the photos, their home has been disrupted by construction and they too have moved on. Unfortunately, my plea to the Colorado DOW didn’t result in any action that would have possibly preserved this habitat and per the following, as of today, there is nothing even they could legally do to help despite the ‘threatened’ status: “We advise that within 75 yards of the nest burrow be protected from human encroachment or disturbance from 1 April to 15 August to avoid disturbance of the nesting owls.”
Burrowing owls live in prairie dog colonies…which are the base of much of the Colorado wildlife food chain. Many Colorado residents are opposed to sharing their yards with prairie dogs due to the vastly over-exaggerated threat of plague and potential landscape damage…neither of which I’ve had a problem with, but I might if the wildlife up the food chain continue to be chased off by construction and the small colony bordering the back of my property becomes unnaturally out of balance.
Most builders and construction investors apparently don’t realize or perhaps care to acknowledge the upstream impact of knocking off a prairie dog colony or two…so the sprawl continues and the wildlife either moves on or dies off.
Call me an idealist, but there’s gotta be a much better, holistic way to balance human and economic growth without being so environmentally irresponsible and devastatingly destructive.