Monday, March 4, 2013

Burrowing Owl

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.  Here's a link to the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society, with a nice video.

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 sure to see some of these little birds when you are in SW Florida

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