Patrols up near Santa Fe after rare owl killed

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Burrowing Owls_399916

A young burrowing owl looks out for food in a park in Pembroke Pines, Fla., Sunday, April 20, 2008. The greatest threat to the burrowing owl community is habitat destruction, caused primarily by land development. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – A federal land management official says more enforcement officers have been put on patrol in the Caja del Rio area near Santa Fe after the reported killing of a burrowing owl.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the species is among those protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Donna Hummel says such a killing is rare and the incident is being taken seriously.

New Mexico Wildlife Center spokeswoman Dawn Wright said the owl’s death was related to a gunshot.

Bird watcher Julie Luetzelschwab photographed two burrowing owls on June 27, and three days later one of them was missing.

The owl was found nearby. One leg was missing and the wings were spread as if it had been flying when it was struck.

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