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Cape Coral landscaper caught mowing over burrow as advocates see an increase in burrowing owls

Cape Coral Burrowing Owl lawn mower incident
Posted at 8:01 PM, Apr 26, 2023

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — On Wednesday, Christopher, a homeowner in Cape Coral said he feared the front yard burrowing owls were dead after he said his landscaper intentionally drove over their burrow with a lawn mower.

Christopher told Fox 4 that both owls (Ian and Irma) were unharmed.

“ I was immediately having images of the mower going over and the owls getting decapitated by the mower,” said Christopher.

It comes at a time when members of the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife report that more burrowing owls are being spotted in the cape since Hurricane Ian.

Christopher, who said he is a lifelong bird enthusiast said the two owls moved into the front yard in March and that’s when he bought the security camera to keep an eye on them.

Christopher said it was around the same time that he said he told their established landscaper, to stay away from the blocked-off nests.

“He (landscaper) indicated that he knew the law he knew the rules he knew to stay away and it was the customer's request to stay away from that part of our property and so I was extremely angry when I saw that going on,” said Christopher.

Lori Bulcock, an advocate and member of the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife said there was no excuse for what happened.

“Especially if you are telling me that the homeowner called the company and told them of the existence of it. Clearly, if he was thinking about what he was doing he would have stayed away,” said Bulcock.

Florida Fish and Wildlife(FWC) says grass around burrows should be maintained using weed trimmers and not come within ten feet of the entrance.

FWC adds that heavy machinery could cause the burrows to collapse and people should not go within 33 feet of the burrows.

It's information that Bulcock said more people need to be aware of as she said advocates like herself are noticing a growing number of these owls in Cape Coral since Hurricane Ian.

“They are popping up on people's lawns more often, it's so cool and that's the future. They are doing it for us, it really is the future they will go extinct otherwise,” said Bulcock.

It's a future of coexisting with the yellow-eyed neighbors, that Christopher said can be done.

“It's not that hard to do an accommodation for the owls," said Christopher.

Christopher told Fox 4 that he filed a report with Cape Coral Code Enforcement and FWC.