Love is in the air for Florida burrowing owls. Fittingly, these birds begin their breeding season in conjunction with Valentine’s Day, typically falling between February 15th and July 10th. These unique little birds are only found in Florida, from the Panhandle all the way to the Keys. They stand a small but mighty nine inches tall, have long legs compared to their body size, and extraordinary yellow eyes (indicative of a diurnal hunter, in the owl world). They are generally found in pairs or small colonies. These pint-sized birds live in open, treeless areas, and spend most of their time on the ground where their speckled plumage provides camouflage from predators.
Burrowing owls get their name from the burrows that they dig in pastures, agriculture fields, vacant lots, and even golf courses. These burrows provide crucial shelter and a safe place for breeding and raising young. Owl burrows may be have been build by evicted mammals, or they dig their own, which can reach up to 15 feet in length and be dug in as little as two days! Marco Island in Naples and Sanibel Island near Fort Myers are known “hot spots” for burrowing owl activity.
Burrowing owls are under threat from habitat loss due to urban development. They are listed as a state-threatened species and are legally protected in Florida. If you encounter a burrowing owl, respect its space and burrow. If you find them on your property and you plan to develop the land, please contact us. We are happy to help you obtain the proper permits and conduct the appropriate procedures to protect these little love birds.