The Colgate area is located just west of the village of Colgate, 25 km south of the city of Weyburn, in southeastern Saskatchewan. This large area of flat native grassland provides ample habitat for grassland birds. It is an expanse of mixed grass prairie surrounded by cropland. Several tributaries of the Souris River flow through the area and provide shrubby habitat for riparian species.
The prairie at Colgate supports as many as 15 pairs of Burrowing Owls (1.5% or more of the estimated Canadian population; the population is currently experiencing a severe decline). It is uncertain whether all 15 nest sites are currently being used. The Burrowing Owl is a nationally endangered species that nests in burrows in the ground. In 1995, when this species was reexamined by COSEWIC (The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) it was uplisted to endangered, with an estimated population of between 1015 to 1695 pairs in Canada in 1993-4. Almost all of these in are in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Other birds of interest also nest at the Colgate prairie. There are 14 Ferruginous Hawk nests here, with about half being active in any one year. This large and regal hawk (its latin name is Buteo regalis) is considered nationally vulnerable by COSEWIC because the population in Canada is thought to consist of only 2,500 pairs of hawks. There is also considerable habitat for other grassland birds at Colgate, as well as some habitat for riparian species.
Almost all of the Colgate grassland is partially protected by Lomond No.3 PFRA (Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration). It is also classified as a Wildlife Management Unit, a designation with an emphasis on the protection of livestock and property.
While there are currently no serious threats to the bird life of this area, drought, over-grazing, and oil well development are three of the potential threats. The first, drought, is a common phenomenon in this region that could potentially change the local environment. Currently, there is extensive oil well development at the site, and more oil wells would not be unexpected. This kind of development is perhaps more likely than other threats to effect the wildlife of the area in the future.IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status