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Wise about Owls

Jan 31, 2024 08:00AM ● By Ann Marie O’Phelan

Image courtesy of Credit Chris Robben

You’ve likely seen their small heads pop up from their underground burrows or spotted their small stature atop a mailbox during the evening hours—they are Coral’s beloved burrowing owls. They are one of the smallest owl species on the planet, weighing only 5-8.5 ounces and standing 7.5-11 inches tall. Cape Coral has the largest population of burrowing owls in the state, with over 1,000 nesting pairs—and we are lucky to have these charming creatures here.

When you spot them, it’s essential to maintain at least 20 feet from them, do not linger for an extended period while viewing them, and do not feed them, as human disturbance can disrupt and hinder their daily activities, such as hunting for food for their chicks. Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife has more Owl Viewing Etiquette Tips on their website.

Those who love our burrowing owls and those who would love to learn more about them should check out the 22nd Annual Burrowing Owl Festival, Wildlife and Environmental Expo taking place on Saturday, February 24, 2024, 10 am-4 pm, at Rotary Park, Cape Coral.

“The event includes children’s education activities and face painting, a silent auction, bus tours around Cape Coral to observe our wildlife, butterfly house tours, arts&crafts vendors, an exposition of wildlife organizations, live animals, food & beverages, and more,” says Janet Windisch, Corresponding Secretary, Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife.

This year, the event’s focus is to raise awareness in the community of the increasing threat to burrowing owls and the city’s precious wildlife due to development and climate change.

“We will be encouraging community members to join us in our efforts to support local wildlife, such as raising funds to preserve land in Cape Coral as animal habitat and to build starter burrows on private property for burrowing owls,” explains Windisch.

If you can’t make the event, e-donations are always helpful to the cause and appreciated by Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife, a 501-C-3 volunteer organization that works to preserve local wildlife and educate the community.

The 22nd Annual Burrowing Owl Festival, Wildlife and Environmental Expo
Saturday, February24, 2024, 10 am-4 pm, Rotary Park, 5505 Rose Garden Road, Cape Coral

There is limited parking at Rotary Park.
Check the map for overflow parking.
There is a suggested $5 donation for ages 12+.

Ann Marie O’Phelan is a SW Florida resident and a regular contributor to TOTI Media.