Need an answer…thanks!
My first assumption to that answer would be camoflage. It’s harder for them to be seen by prey if they’re hiding in dark tree and, of course (like most birds), to build their nests.
As missjo mentioned, owls often live in trees, so if there are no trees, owls lose their main habitat.
Burrowing owls however live in abandoned rodent (ground squirrel, prarie dog, etc.) nests. They often perch on trees and stumps of trees where they sit and watch for prey, the elevation given them better range of sight. They sleep under ground, however, and can live where there are very few if any trees.
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