Burrowing owl nest burned in Cape Coral

Posted: 11:05 PM, May 08, 2017
Updated: 2017-05-09 07:27:42-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - A burrowing owl nest in Cape Coral appears to have been burned, and neighbors say it may have been intentionally set.

There are thousands of burrowing owl nests around Cape Coral, and spotting them is easy.  Just look for the wooden "T" marking the spot.

Kathy Farrington and her grandkids live across the street from several nests, "We saw them this morning on our way to school," she says.

Now one of the Burrowing Owl nest appears to be empty. It's surrounded by burnt grass, damage from a recent brush fire.  "There was birds there; there was owls there. I don't know if they survived it or if they flew away when the heat was there or the flames were there. I don't know," said Kathy.

The brown and white spotted birds are a threatened species and therefore have a protected status. That is why their nests are marked and monitored by wildlife officials, and you're not supposed to get too close.

One resident tells Fox 4 there are rumors kids may have sparked the fire near the owl's nest.  "It's totally insane. From what I understand somebody told me that it was a couple of young girls that started the fire."

Farrington says she watched as firefighters rushed to put out the flames burning around the nest, which at one point posed a threat to her home. "We we were worried that we may have to leave the house because it is very dry," she said.

Fortunately they didn't have to leave, but they're wondering if the owls who lived across from them did. She says, "that is sad, very sad because they are beautiful birds. they really are."

If you do see an owl's nest, and you want to get a closer look, be sure to stay behind the PVC pipes around the nest because their burrows can be up to ten feet long.