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Obtaining reliable estimates of absolute and relative reproductive rates is challenging for avian species whose nests are difficult to observe, such as the burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia). We compared methods for estimating reproductive rates of burrowing owls, defined as the number of 21- to 28-day-old young per Successful nest. We compared observations using (1) the mean and (2) the maximum number of young observed during 5 30-min observation periods, and (3) the maximum number of voting videotaped during 2-hr video surveillance. We evaluated the reliability of these methods with the known number of young present in nest boxes. All 3 methods performed poorly as estimators of absolute reproductive rates (absolute...