Burrowing owls around San Diego aren't wearing tiny backpacks because they're getting ready for a summer getaway. Rather, the satchels contain GPS devices so they can be tracked for research.
The San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research is behind the project. Conservationists said the dataloggers, which don't impede the owls' movement, are being used to monitor their burrowing around the state. Researchers are alarmed about their decreasing population and hope this data helps for future conservation efforts.
Research coordinator Colleen Wisinski said in a statement that information collected "will be critical to scientific management of this species by adding to our understanding of their habitat use and movements."
Plus, they look super adorable.