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Burrowing Owls

Southwest Florida Wildlife – Owls – Photography Birding

The scientific name for these curious birds is Athene cunicularia – the Burrowing Owls may be seen nesting on Burrowing Owls FloridaMarco Island. These native owls are the smallest of all the Florida Owls and spend most of their time on the ground. Ask us about Birds on Marco Island or share birding comments. To feature your business, contact us.

SW FL Birding: Burrowing Owls

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True to their name burrowing owls live on the ground in a burrow or small hole where they lay their eggs. Most burrowing owl nesting areas are roped off, please use caution in approaching the owls. Burrowing owls generally live as a single breeding pair or in a small colony.Unlike most owls, burrowing owls are active during both day and night. During the day, they are usually seen standing erect at the mouth of the burrow or on a nearby post.  An agitated owl will bob and begin making chirping, clucking sound. Burrowing owls have an unusual flight pattern. They are also capable of hovering in midair – a technique used when hunting for food.Burrowing owls use their burrows year-round – some burrows can extend 4 to 8 feet underground. The owls typically dig their own burrows but will use gopher tortoise holes or armadillo burrows. The Burrowing Owl diet consists primarily of insects but the owls also enjoy small lizards, snakes, birds and rodents.

A nesting owl. Click to enlarge.

A nesting owl.
Click to enlarge.

Burrowing Owls Nesting

Eggs are primarily laid in March,  but nesting can occur anytime from October through May. The female lays six to eight eggs over a one-week period. Incubate of the eggs lasts from 21 to 28 days. New born owls emerge from the burrow when they are 2 weeks old. Burrowing owls cannot fly until 4-6 weeks old. Most young owls remain with their parents until they are 12 weeks old.

The Florida burrowing owl is classified as a “species of special concern” by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This means burrows, owls, and their eggs are protected from harassment and/or disturbance by state law. Burrowing owls are also protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Please do not disturb nesting Burrowing Owls.

Attracting Burrowing Owls

If you would like to attract burrowing owls to your property consider removing about a three foot square of sod to expose the sandy soil which is needed by the owls to burrow. You might also start the burrow and place a pile of loose sand near the mouth. Placing a T-perch near the burrow can help draw an owl to the site. Of course, you should also eliminate pesticide use near the burrow.

Protecting Burrowing Owls

Please report malicious destruction or harassment of burrowing owls or their nests by calling toll-free 1-888-404-3922.  The service is available from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Please share your Burrowing Owl comments and photos. Thank you for visiting Marco Island Living. To feature your business, contact us.

Burrowing Owls may be seen nesting on Marco Island. Click to enlarge view.

Burrowing Owls may be seen nesting on Marco Island. Click photo to enlarge view.



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