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OWL WATCH: What this week's heavy rainfall means for the Cape's burrowing owls

A local group told Fox 4's Cape Coral Community Correspondent Bella Line what it's watching out for, when it comes to the owls and their underground homes.
Posted at 6:45 AM, Jun 11, 2024

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — The Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife (CCFW) just finished its yearly burrowing owl count, but with warnings of flooding this week in the Cape, there's some concern about what this means for these owls that live underground.

"There are by far more owls in this one town, in this one city, than there is any other place in Florida," said Janet Windisch, Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife Corresponding Secretary. "They are really thriving here. They're not thriving everywhere else."

This year's burrowing owl census found nearly 900 more owls than last year. Great news for this threatened species that naturally keeps its homes underground, especially with construction everywhere you look, but with the possibility of 9 inches of rain through Thursday afternoon things won't be fun for our favorite local bird of prey, the next few days.

"We have had storms in the past where the babies have drowned," said Pascha Donaldson, a long-time resident and former president of Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife. "I won't say typically but a lot of times the the owl will have another egg laying later on in the summer or later on, you know, to maintain it."

Heavy rainfall could threaten burrowing owls, one local organization is keeping watch
Heavy rainfall could threaten burrowing owls, one local organization is keeping watch

She says it is late in the nesting season, but the sudden rainfall the cape experienced in January left some lasting damage.

She also says after the flooding clears, she and other volunteers go out to fix damaged burrows and try to help any birds impacted by the rains.

"The bottom line is it's nature. We do what we can to help it but sometimes doing nothing might be the better choice," said Donaldson.

CCFW asks that if you see any damage or issues to burrows from the heavy rainfall this week to call them at 239-980-2593.