A LEGALLY PROTECTED SPECIES UNDER
STATE AND FEDERAL LAW
On January 11th, 2017, the status of the burrowing owl changed from "Species of Special Concern" to state "Threatened".
The burrowing owl is a mottled sandy brown and white bird, averaging 9 inches in height with a 21 inch wing span. It has relatively long legs, a distinctive white chin patch, and eyes that range in color from bright yellow to brown. It lacks ear tufts typical of some woodland owls. When approached at close range, the burrowing owl may bob its head and utter clucking calls.
Where They Are Found
Within the construction area, the burrowing owl is most likely to be found in open, treeless areas with short ground cover, such as maintained vacant lots and along roadsides. It spends most of its time on the ground and uses burrows year round for refuge and nesting (nesting season is February 15 – July 10). Average burrows are 6 inches in diameter and extend 4 to 8 feet underground. The burrow entrance is often lined with grass clippings, feathers, paper and manure. City volunteers have installed wooden perches and PVC pipe protective buffers around many Cape Coral burrows. Owls often can be seen on the perches or PVC pipes. On hot days, they may seek shelter in shaded areas, such as storm drains, near houses or trees and shrubs.
If You See a Burrowing Owl or Burrow
- Cease all work within 10 feet of the burrow (a buffer of 25 feet or more is preferred, when possible). If you are unsure whether the burrow belongs to an owl or gopher tortoise, stay 25 feet from the burrow.
- Do not disturb or touch the owl or its burrow in any manner.