Town Square

Council OKs burrowing owl plan

Original post made on Oct 24, 2012

Borrowing owl lovers rejoiced Tuesday when the City Council adopted a plan for protecting the rare ground-dwelling bird.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 24, 2012, 1:45 PM


Posted by Wanda C. Wun, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Are there any owls left in this space or are we just trying to attract them with favorable habitat? Serious question. I'm assuming we have a population since we're hiring a biologist, but I haven't seen any for quite some time.

Posted by Ron MV, a resident of Waverly Park
on Oct 25, 2012 at 8:40 am

Ron MV is a registered user.

This does seem too far in the other direction. Environmental groups want to "preserve" nature, but if the burrowing owls are dying out locally, or just leaving, that is also "nature". Spending 3/4 of a million dollars that could go to all sorts of things, hiring a person at $115K (really?), and pushing up squirrel populations for food (did anyone ask the squirrels?) seems an unnatural effort.

Posted by NAME REMOVED- TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 25, 2012 at 10:14 am

Um, you can't destroy huge amounts of habitat and then claim the remaining species die is something that is "Natural"
That's like saying we can use all the water in a river until its dry, and then claim the resulting dead fish is a natural process.

I _do_ support park land for use as preserving native species habitat, but if we're to spend this much money, there should be owls, or a stated goal of future reintroduction if the owls are not there anymore.

Posted by Otto Maddox, a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 25, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Is these owls had so many supporters couldn't one of them just volunteer to watch over them? Do we really need to hire a person at $115K a year? That's not even considering benefits.. probably gets a pension.. for watching a bird.

I guess all other budget issues have been solved if we have hundreds of thousands of dollars to burn on owls.

Posted by Manual, a resident of Jackson Park
on Oct 26, 2012 at 6:43 am

Otto, you've over simplified things to minimize what a biologist does. Its an easy game for hacks and chronic complainers. I'll show you: Tell us what you do/did for a living, how much you made, and I'll easily minimize your job and explain why you did not deserve your pay check.
Like I said, easy game for hacks and chronic complainers.
Waiting for your job description now Otto.

Posted by R.S. Feind, a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 26, 2012 at 10:36 am

As a resident of Mountain View, I am very proud to support the 2012 Burrowing Owl Preservation Plan that was accepted by the City Council. If you have not had the experience of seeing one of these owls, you can acquaint yourself with their intrinsic interest by watching one of these short videos by filmmaker Greg Kerekes: Web Link

Our city is blessed to have these creatures in our midst.

Posted by Dotty, a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 26, 2012 at 10:37 am

I am thrilled at this decision. YES, THERE ARE BURROWING OWLS IN THE NEWLY PRESERVED AREA! It's one of the few places we still have them in our county. They have been disappearing due to development (by humans) of their natural habitat. San Jose has a population at the Hillview Airport, and also has had a Burrowing Owl biologist on staff for several years. I applaud the Mountain View City Council for this excellent decision, and hope other cities will consider using this model. I consider it an excellent way to use my tax dollars.

Posted by Annette H., a resident of Gemello
on Oct 26, 2012 at 10:52 am

Otto, the wildlife biologist does WAY more than just watching over them. I invite you to read the preservation plan that is available online for details, but it requires detail knowledge about the owls. This is not just a volunteer position, although I can assure you that there are owl volunteers out there when needed to help out. I have volunteered at Shoreline for the owls before and am very happy that this plan was approved. It's good for the owls and it's good for our city to make such strides in preserving nature.

Posted by Annette H., a resident of Gemello
on Oct 26, 2012 at 10:55 am

I am a resident of Mountain View and am very proud to live in a city that puts such goals to action. Mountain View balances the need for a thriving economy with the need for nature preservation and those lovely owls are a perfect example. I thank the City Council for making such a wise decision to profit our community for years to come.

If you have not seen those owls, please come and join on of the guided tours Shoreline offers. Once you meet an owl, you will understand why it's important to protect them :)

Posted by Ruth Troetschler, a resident of another community
on Oct 26, 2012 at 11:44 am

I am part of a group which has watched over, and tried to protect these owls for many years. Believe me, a biologist is needed to coordinate the volunteers. You should all be very proud that Mountain View government has shown leadership for many years to protect this Burrowing Owl population, and has now stepped up to the plate to help even further. Please join us to help other cities and airports set aside suitable lands to provide for these owls. They are one of the few bird species which are completely dependent on the willingness of humans to save some land for them.

Posted by Dave C., a resident of another community
on Oct 26, 2012 at 1:02 pm

The Mountain View City Council has shown vision and wisdom by implementing a Preservation Plan for the Burrowing Owl. The owls are something that will be enjoyed by our children and grandchildren. They
will not have to Google it to just see what was lost from our landscape by overdevelopment.

Posted by Rodger, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 26, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Way too much money allocated for this project, we have other needs

Posted by Yeah, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 26, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Except for the cranks, these posts have been great to read. So glad they're still out there and now have a much better shot at thriving. Well done MV!

Posted by How about relocation, a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 26, 2012 at 4:51 pm

How about relocating the Burrowing critters somewhere else, so the city can build out that land for more apartments. Just think, 1 million dollars for one unit. I know a lot of people that will jump on that.

Posted by Eric Rosenberg, a resident of another community
on Oct 26, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Glad to see them taking a strong position on this. Not only to help the Owls, but also other critters that share the habitat.

Posted by Owlsey, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 27, 2012 at 6:23 am

Simply awesome. Another great example of why MV is the best city in the area to live in.

Posted by Jeanne Salander, a resident of another community
on Oct 27, 2012 at 7:33 am

There also used to be quails so thick on the ground in parts our area that one could barely walk...burrowing owls only like flat open ground, and so are particularly vulnerable to being wiped out by our human activity....I applaud the City of Mountain view for helping steward this vulnerable animal at the future, I am looking forward to Mountain View having its own annual Burrowing Owl Festival! I am not opposed to humans 'taking' animals for their own long as so much is not taken that the species is extirpated..... Thanks to all the volunteers whose steady work helped the City see it way to this decision!

Posted by curious, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 27, 2012 at 10:09 am

It looks like we are being astro-turfed again by some enviro-wackos. At least they are honest enough to admit they are out of town.

As a resident and taxpayer, this is clearly an extravagant waste our hard-earned tax monies by the City council. There is another story in this newspaper about how the council decided thay could not find $1 Million for a shuttle bus. Maybe if they let the owls use the bus, we could get a service that some of us can use instead of this total waste.

Kudos to Mr. Means for voting against this boodoggle. But I guess it helps that he is being term-limited out to find some courage. Did Mr. Inks vote for this idiocy?

Posted by Cuesta Park resident, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm

I personally am in favor of this plan. There are only two sites left in the northern California area and we are one of them. I lived in Sunnyvale at the time when they tried to re-locate the burrowing owls so they could put in a strip mall, right in front of Mission College. It was so sad to see the whole population of them get wiped out along with the jack rabbits. I am really glad that this council has the foresight to ensure that we continue to have some open space for wildlife habitation.

Posted by Greg Kerekes, a resident of another community
on Oct 28, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Thank you Mountain View City Council!! Please encourage San Jose to adopt a similar plan!

Posted by HOOT!, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 29, 2012 at 9:56 am

So many of my fellow tax paying residents are VERY excited about this. When it becomes the topic of conversations on the sidewalk, I've yet to find anyone opposed, in fact its been quite the opposite. Great job and a hearty thanks from the citizens who have and will continue to use this rare ans special resource multiple times per week. I LOVE going out a Secret Shoreline Park.

Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Whisman Station
on Oct 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm

What you need is a bunch of prairie dogs and burrowing owls from around Denver, not a $150k/year taxpayer drain. It will save us the hassle of dealing with a glut of the rodents and their primary symbiotic predator. That is an " illegal alien colony " that MV could use.

Posted by gf, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 30, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Shoreline at Mountain View Park and Refuge is an amazing and beautiful 700-acre park. It's hard to believe it was all trash. For 13 years, starting in 1968, like in many cities along the bay,the area along the bay was used as a garbage dump and landfill for trash from the city of San Francisco. In 1983, Mountain View closed the dump and began turning this area into a park. The Don Edwards National Wildlife refuge lies all along the northern edge, assuring us of endless vistas of the bay and East Bay hills.

Now that North Bayshore is planned to grow rapidly to double or triple its density, it is good that the developers can get clear guidance, from a full time staffer, available to them from the city, on how to develop and expand without destroying our natural capital that is unique to this area.

Posted by Rebecca Shapley, a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 30, 2012 at 9:06 pm

As a Mountain View resident and taxpayer, I am very proud of the City Council for making the right choice to invest wisely in the conservation of the Burrowing Owls and their habitat in the Shoreline area.

The Shoreline area has to balance many, many requirements, and it's not easy to figure out what's best for the owls. Their population in the area has been going down in recent years. The biologist will identify what is necessary for successful conservation, and prevent wasteful spending on unnecessary steps, as well as (hopefully!) turn the population trend back up.

The burrowing owls are a treasure; they aren't movable, they are irreplaceable. And their successful conservation is testimony to the best in humans and Mountain View residents.

Posted by gf, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 30, 2012 at 10:18 pm

We should be proud of our city. We will replace TWO PART_TIME biologists with one FULL_TIME biologist. Makes sense.

Many people are TOTALLY unaware that North Shoreline is biology-rich Besides the now famous endangered owls,it has an outrageous GREAT EGRET Colony of nests along one of its streets - the only Great Egret colony in the SOUTH BAY -right here- and a SNOWY EGRET nesting colony. It is home to a wide variety of shore birds, it now has birds and butterflies along the two creeks where native plants are being slowly brought back now that the creeks are being cared for by the city and its 2 current part-time staff BIOLOGISTS who will be replaced by a single BIOLOGIST.

Our creeks, all the way back to the springs and the hills are slowly coming alive and the trails are being developed for recreation all along these natural biological preserves.

Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Whisman Station
on Nov 1, 2012 at 10:20 am


Web Link

The NATURAL solution includes providing the owls with the PROPER FOOD and shelter. Read the article for information on the NORMAL food.

Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Whisman Station
on Nov 1, 2012 at 10:26 am

How about NOT hiring a $150K biologist and sending some money my way?

I've solved the solution using common sense and facing the reality that MV, like other SFBA cities has a cash flow problem. The owl/prairie dog situation is the NATURAL, BALANCED SYMBIOTIC relationship.

Posted by nOT cHRONIC cONot Chronic Complainer, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 1, 2012 at 11:12 am

How can someone solve a solution? I though we came up with solutions to solve problems. Must be a Colorado thing...find a solution, then solve it(?)

"Common Sense" is a phrase people use when in actuality they are ignorant about some complex issue and only can rely on what they _think_ they know. I'm sure it was common sense to think the world was flat back in the day...they people got educated.

Posted by Old MV, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 1, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Wow -- $791,000 for a few burrowing owls (just how many are there?). I'm sorry, but if the Audubon Society wants this project, they should fund it. Expecting the residents of Mountain View to bear the cost is ridiculous. Wake up, City Council. You guys are fiscally reckless (and will be voted out of office!).

Posted by Positivity, a resident of Castro City
on Nov 2, 2012 at 5:39 am

If the comments are any barometer, the council has nothing to fear. Way more people in favor than opposed. Including me. Good job MV!
I remember when people were complaining about how much money the SC Trail would cost. The have since hushed up.

Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Whisman Station
on Nov 2, 2012 at 2:08 pm

It looks like someone wants to deflect from the original problem. They need professional help.

Posted by the_complainer, a resident of Castro City
on Nov 2, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Looks like someone took their complaining pills today. They make me laugh.