What You Can Do to Help Burrowing Owls During Nesting Season

May 7, 2024 | Burrowing Owls

We are nearing the peak of burrowing owl nesting season in Cape Coral!  Have you noticed tiny chicks appearing at burrows in your neighborhood?  There are several important things you can do to help the burrowing owls and their owlets at this time of year. 

First, if you see an unmarked burrow or one without a perch made of PVC pipe and wood, please contact Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife (CCFW) via our website ccfriendsofwildlife.org, by email or Facebook, or by calling 239 980-2593.  This applies to burrows located at private homes, commercial and municipal properties and empty lots. An unmarked burrow is not safe because mowers may not notice it and run over the burrow, collapsing it and potentially trapping the owls. Empty lots are mowed by the city with large tractors and the PCV pipe markers are critical to prevent the burrows from being run over. 

When CCFW is notified of an unmarked burrow on developed property, volunteers first contact the property owner to obtain permission to mark the burrow.  For empty lots, volunteers immediately install PVC pipes and a perch.  In all cases, the location is recorded and is added to the database maintained by the City of Cape Coral.  

The second way community members can aid newly hatched owl chicks is to slow down when driving near burrows located near the road.  We have all seen burrows very close to the sidewalk or in the median strip.  As chicks emerge from their burrows and learn to fly, they are vulnerable to passing traffic.

The third is do not use rat poison!  Many owls and other birds perish because they consume rodents which have been weakened or killed with rat poison.  Whole families of burrowing owls have been wiped out because an adult brought a poisoned rodent to their burrow to feed the owlets. Please make use of the array of humane traps available which do not release poison or poisoned animals into the environment.  In fact, because burrowing owls consume rodents and insects – they are nature’s pest control free of charge!

Lastly, do not feed or provide water to burrowing owls – not even bird seed.  They are wild animals and know how to fend for themselves.  Feeding them could make them ill and/or encourage their dependence on humans.  

Note that burrowing owls are classified as threatened species in Florida.  If you see any destruction or harassment of burrowing owls or their nests, please report it to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission toll free at 1-888-404-FWCC.

Cape Coral Friends of wildlife is an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to preserve and enhance the habitats of protected wildlife species and to educate the community about Cape Coral’s wildlife resources.  If you are interested in joining for volunteering, visit our website ccfriendsofwildlife.org or call 239 980-2593.

burrowing owl family