Barbara Russo – 718-265-3428; 917-494-5493;

Max Pulsinelli – 718-220-5182;

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Look WHO’s New at WCS’s Queens Zoo

  • Three burrowing owl owlets have hatched at the zoo
  • Unlike most other owls, burrowing owls are active during the day

WCS Newsroom:



Flushing, N.Y. – July 13, 2016– Three burrowing owl owlets (Athene cunicularia) have hatched at WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) Queens Zoo.

The owlets hatched sometime in late May or early June and began to appear outside their burrows in mid-June.  Burrowing owls typically nest in burrows dug by prairie dogs or other ground dwelling animals but will sometimes do their own excavating.  Females lay eggs in the burrow and incubate them for 30 days.  While incubating the eggs, the male owl will bring his mate food.  Upon hatching, owlets are fed by both parents in the burrow for several weeks before venturing out of the burrow.

Queens Zoo created the burrowing owl exhibit last year. Including the new youngsters, there are now a total of nine owls in the group. They share their exhibit with thick-billed parrots and roadrunners.

Unlike most owls, burrowing owls are active during the day.  They tend to avoid midday heat and do most of their hunting at dawn and dusk when they can utilize their keen vision.

The species once ranged throughout much of North America and portions of Central and South America.  Burrowing owls inhabit open grasslands, deserts, or other habitats with low vegetation. Populations are declining in Canada and the western United States due to habitat loss for land development and prairie dog eradication.  Land development also threatens their population in Florida.  Ironically, the species’ population has increased in portions of Central and South America due to deforestation. 

For more information or to speak with a WCS expert, contact Barbara Russo at 718-265-3428 or

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Queens Zoo – Open every day of the year. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors 65 and older, $5 for kids 3-12, free for children under 3. Zoo hours are 10am to 5pm weekdays, and 10am – 5:30pm weekends, April through October, and 10am – 4:30pm daily, November through April. The Queens Zoo is located at 53-51 111th Street in Flushing Meadow’s Corona Park in Queens. For further information, call 718-271-1500 or visit

WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.

Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a Web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to