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Cape Coral gets approval to collapse owl burrow in Bernice Braden Park

Cape Coral planning to collapse owl burrow
Posted at 7:11 PM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 19:11:04-05

CAPE CORAL — Two little owls in Cape Coral may have to find a new home pretty soon.

The city just got a permit to move them, because their burrow is getting in the way of public events. They’ve got a little patch of grass all to themselves, surrounded by white pylons to keep people from getting too close, but the city uses that park every year for its 4th of July celebration. So officials want the birds to move, but one man is already trying to stop that from happening.

Chris Specht says, there’s a lot of reasons to love the owls. They’re the official city bird of Cape Coral, and they’re also endangered, but mainly they’re just cute, and in a great location for visitors.

“When these two owls set up here, three days after being evicted last year, they could not have picked a more perfect spot to become a public exhibit at a welcome center for the city," said Specht.

That “eviction” took place when the Red White and Boom festival moved in last 4th of July. Thousands of people come out to the park to celebrate the 4th every year, and having two little, endangered birds in the middle of it isn’t easy for planners. This was the response Specht got when he took his concerns to City Council last week.

“Unfortunately, humanity is pushing a lot of wildlife out of the city. It’s just a fact of life. The human race is growing, the country is growing, the city especially is growing, and there’s only so much real estate," said Cape Coral City Council Member Rick Williams.

So the city plans to move the owls, and it just got permission to do it from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, but Specht has already filed a petition to stop it.

“A complaint with FWC, alleging that the information provided to them on the application was incorrect, and that should hold up the application process and have FWC put it more under a microscope,” said Specht.

A microscope to help the FWC spot two little birds in the middle of some big plans.

Senior Public Works Manager Mike Ilczyszyn said, in addition to Red, White, and Boom, the city also has plans to do landscaping in the park that could affect the owls. He said, it’s not something the city does routinely, but in this case they think it’s the best way to keep the owls safe. As of right now, he doesn’t know when they’ll begin work on collapsing the burrow.