Fostering Scientific Inquiry and Environmental Awareness

Earth Island Journal, 25 June 2018

Burrowing owl populations are on the decline in California and across North America. In the San Francisco Bay-Delta region, their numbers decreased an estimated 50 percent between 1980s and and the early 1990s and have decreased another 28 percent since then. These tiny owls, the only raptor in North America to nest exclusively underground, face threats from invasive plants, “pest” control of ground squirrels and other burrowers that create the underground burrows they nest in, and most of all, from urban development and resulting habitat loss.

Battle for Burrowing Owls

Earth Island Journal, National Parks: The Next 100 Years, Volume 31 no 2, Summer 2016

I had already been on the frontline for two years. My tactical pack – complete with camera and 500mm telephoto lens, a dozen padlocks, six feet of welded steel chain in various pre-cut lengths, notebook and pen, GPS receiver, and pocket-sized camcorder – was prepped for my morning patrol. The target zone was a 25-acre housing development, and once thriving grassland habitat, that fell victim to the real estate bubble.

Efficacy of Conservation Banks as a Tactic for Sustainable Development: Reducing population Vulnerability of Athene cunicularia hypugaea

University of Illinois, Springfield 2013

Through an over reliance on conservation banks as a one-size fits all approach to
environmental impacts, the conversion of grassland ecosystems to agriculture and residential and urban development, inadequate and unenforceable state burrowing owl mitigation policies and guidelines, and difficulties in implementing the concept of sustainable development at the local, regional and state level are contributing to unsustainable trends that continue to challenge burrowing owl persistence.

Sustainable Development: A tactic to reduce population vulnerability of Western Burrowing Owls in California

Burrowing Owl Conservation Network 2013, Berkeley, CA

Using the key principles of efficiency, equity and precaution and its connection to social, environmental and economic costs, findings suggest that 1) burrowing owls must receive state or federal Endangered Species Act protections; 2) regulatory agencies must uphold a position that burrowing owl mitigation outside of the region where development occurred does not compensate for local impacts; and 3) impacts to burrowing owls can be effectively mitigated with a system that employs both conservation banks and the establishment of local, urban preserves including the use of an unintentional system of reserves that is comprised of public land such as airports, closed landfills and the margins of golf courses and athletic fields.

Managing California's grassland ecosystems for Athene cunicularia hypugaea

Grasslands Journal21(3):4-5,12 (2011)

Carefully grazed and mowed native- and exotic plant–dominated grasslands have provided optimal breeding and foraging habitat across the burrowing owl’s range. Mowing does not eliminate dry plant material that may shade or limit emerging tillers and native plants; frequent grazing can result in habitat degradation; and prescribed burning has inherent risks and is the most costly tool for grassland habitat management. Therefore, combining strategies to maintain and restore burrowing owl habitat may prove useful.

The Little Owls that Live Underground

Smithsonian Magazine. 12 May 2010 – Interview by John Moir

It’s almost midnight and a lone white pickup truck sits atop a grassy hill on a remote tract of government land near Dublin, California, that is used as a military training base. In the driver’s seat, biologist Jack Barclay hunkers down over a night-vision scope that amplifies light 30,000 times. Barclay is watching two quarter-size pieces of glowing reflective tape that mark a trap he has concealed in low weeds 100 yards away.


Expanding the Conservation Community to Safeguard California’s Western Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl Consortium, 23 March 2013 (Lecture)

Burrowing Owls: Can They Survive Us

San Francisco Bay Flyway Conference, 11 Feb 2011 (Keynote Address)

Burrowing Owl Advocacy: Connecting Conservation and Citizen Science

Burrowing Owl Consortium, 24 Feb 2011 (Lecture)

Citizen Science and Behavioral Studies of Urbanized Burrowing Owl Colonies

San Francisco Bay Flyway Conference, 13 Feb 2011 (Lecture)

Actions to Protect Western Burrowing Owl Nesting and Wintering Habitat in the East San Francisco Bay Area

Burrowing Owl Consortium,6 Feb 2010 (Lecture)


Enrichment with anti-cytokeratin alone or combined with anti-EpCAM antibodies significantly increases the sensitivity for circulating tumor cell detection in metastatic breast cancer patients

Breast Cancer Res 10, R69 (2008)