The Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) is North America’s only raptor that nests underground. There are local and spotty populations here in SW Florida, with habitat loss being the greatest threat to these small owls.
Nine inches tall, with a wingspan of 21 inches, Burrowing Owls are diurnal, and can be spotted sitting atop or near their borrows. In Florida, they are a “species of special concern,” and are protected from all hunting and burrow disturbance. Many burrows in SW Florida are marked like the one below, and some are even supplied with handy perches.
With an estimated 3000 Burrowing Owls in Florida, Cape Coral has the largest population. The city has an annual “Burrowing Owl Festival,” offers tours and even has an Owl Cam so you can watch a burrow on your computer!!! Here’s a link to their site….be sure to see some of these little birds when you are in SW Florida.
Steven Scott is a photonaturalist blogger based in Florida and Maine. He has surveyed butterflies with Earthwatch Institute in the mountains of Vietnam, tagged juvenile snook with Mote Marine Laboratory in the mangroves of Florida and filmed a BioBlitz insect survey in Acadia National Park. A registered nurse and retired Army officer, Steven believes man is an integral part of nature and travels annually to Vietnam with humanitarian medical teams from Vets With a Mission.
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