The Division of Wildlife Resources has initiated an artificial nesting project in the desert areas of Juab, Tooele and Utah counties for burrowing owls, considered a sensitive species, a spokesman says.

Twenty artificial nesting chambers consisting of a wood box and a burrow tunnel made from plastic drainage pipe were constructed in areas where biologists believe there are not enough natural holes for the bird, said Dennis Shirley, non-game manager for the division's central region.Shirley said the lack of suitable nesting habitat may be limiting populations of the unique owl.

During the sumer, biologists plan to return to the burrow sites to see if they are being used, he said. Any young owls found in the nests will be banded to obtain additional information on the distribution and migration of the species.

"If the project is successful, biologists plan to expand the range and population of the burrowing owls with more man-made nesting burrows," Shirley said.