Cape Coral is home to the largest population of the Florida species of the Burrowing Owl in the State of Florida. Since this species of pint sized owls are only found in Florida and surrounds and the Bahamas, by default, we have the largest population in the WORLD!
At only 5-8.5 ounces and 7.5-11 inches tall, the Burrowing Owl is one of the smallest of all the owls, and of the 171 species of owls worldwide, the only owl that lives underground.
Here in Florida our Burrowing Owls dig their own burrows. Cape Coral has upwards of 2500 burrows within the City limits, but not all of them are actively being used by owls.
Owls here in Cape Coral do not migrate. They are here year round, but often hide in the summer to avoid the hot summer sun. The best time to see the owls is from January through June, and the best time to see the chicks is late April through June.
Florida owls flock to Cape Coral for the same reason people do; they prefer warm temperatures, open landscapes and proximity to canals. Here are the flora and fauna cuisine of owl paradise: a delectable variety of fruits, insects and birds, mini-rodents, wee, plump frogs, and exotic lizards—all of which they may swoop down upon or chase across the grass on their little owl feet.
Babies arrive in the spring, usually nine at a time. Father feeds mother while she incubates the eggs for three or four weeks, then it will take both mother and father to satisfy the appetites of the children for the next couple of weeks, depending on how long it takes the little ones to wobble up out of the nest and hunt for insects on their own. At 6 weeks, the babies are airborne.
Predators of the owl include hawks, cats, dogs, and exotic Nile Monitor Lizards. A main threat to the owl’s survival is loss of habitat and feral cats. In Cape Coral, burrowing owl habitat is located primarily on vacant lots with low vegation due to the lot mowing program. The burrowing owl is known to relocate to different locations and may not stay at the same burrow. Nighttime lighting from street lights and homes provide an artificial food source for the owl as the lighting attracts insects. There are gaps in the scientific data to specifically quantify the habitat needs of the owl and range of travel for food.
Building on land with Owls and permitting info:
While a burrow is protected by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC), you can build a new home on your property if there is an owl burrow. The builder will need to maintain a protective zone that includes a 10 foot radius from the burrow entrance for residential construction without a ”take” permit from the FFWCC.
In the event that the burrow is in a location where your new house will be physically built and the owl burrow cannot be avoided, the property owner or their representative is required to obtain a “take” permit from the FFWCC to destroy the inactive nest. The FFWCC usually will not issue a “take” permit during owl nesting season for an active burrow. Burrowing nesting runs from February until July.To minimize the adverse impacts to the owl when a nest is destroyed, the property is encouraged to place a “starter burrow” elsewhere on their property.
Information provided by the FFWCC on procedures is below:
Please find attached the tutorial and link to our online permit system, to you to apply for a bird nest removal permit. Please refer to the check list in the getting started online permitting system tutorial, the tutorial will assist you in completing application. If the nest is active (with eggs or flightless young) please contact the Federal Wildlife Service (FWS) at www.fws.gov to apply for a Federal depredation permit as well or wait until the nest becomes inactive. If you are applying on the behalf of a client, you must first apply as the agent/consultant, by applying for and receiving a Registered Agent Permit (link attached above), or obtain and submit a letter of authorization authorizing you to apply on their behalf. Please feel free to call or email our office if additional assistance is needed.
To apply for a “take” permit from FFWCC, please visit FWCOnlinePermits
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Phone: 239 823 9683
725 Cape Coral Parkway West
Cape Coral, Florida, 33914
Fax: 239 542 8819
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