The Owls Have It
Cape Coral, Florida, is one of the fastest-growing cities in America, its population up nearly 98 percent to more than 204,000 since 2000. Construction is booming, a plus for the economy but disastrous for area wildlife—especially ground-nesting burrowing owls. Standing about 9 inches tall, they are the only bird of prey in North America that nests solely underground, and they’re in decline as their habitat shrinks. In 2016, the state of Florida listed the owl as threatened, sparking renewed dedication among conservationists to help save these beloved birds.
The Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife (CCFW) is spearheading those efforts locally by enlisting area residents as volunteers to mark and monitor owl burrows and to dig “starter burrows” in their own yards. “It’s important that people help dig burrows: says CCFVV volunteer Jana Charvat. “Otherwise, there will be no room left for the owls: