CAPE CORAL, Fla-- A burrowed owl nest was recently destroyed near NW 8th Terrace and NW 5th Pl. in Cape Coral. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is currently investigating after a resident in the area reported several burrowed owls were found dead on the property.
"I would be absolutely devastated if I walked by here and didn't see my owls," said Gail St Martin.
St Martin lives a few blocks away from the land where the burrowed owl nests are located, but makes it a point to walk her dog Brady past the property every day.
"They are so peaceful and they bring me joy," said St Martin.
That joy is now destroyed. News of the deaths spread throughout the neighborhood after a 16-year-old called FWC to report the incident last week.
"Very cute, very cuddly, everybody loves them," said Bernadette McNee.
McNee is one of several volunteers part of Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife. The group spends their time cleaning the thousands of nests scattered throughout the city, maintaining signage and working with FWC and the City of Cape Coral to track new nests.
"I found out about the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife, went to a meeting and joined that day and been cleaning nests ever since, trying to take care of them," said NcNee.
That was 11 years ago. Today McNee said it still hurts her when she finds out someone has intentionally destroyed a nest.
"I'd have to say horror, disbelief," said McNee.
This time, a for sale sign that was put up a week ago on the property is leaving residents in the area suspicious.
"People don't have to do bad things to animals," said St Martin.
Friends of Wildlife does have GPS trackers on the 3,000 nests throughout Cape Coral. The City of Cape Coral uses the same GPS system to track the nests. The organization believes the partnership along with an active FWC investigation will help bring someone to justice very soon.
"The city has those GPS points and anytime a house is going to be built the property is flagged by the city," said McNee.
Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife said they also want the public to know you can apply for a free permit to have nests removed in a way that doesn't harm the burrowed owls.
For more information about burrowed owls: CLICK HERE
For permit information through FWC: CLICK HERE