By Maria Lamb
It has been a successful nesting season, according to Owl Watch Project Manager, Jean Hall. The volunteers recorded a high chick count of over 350+ chicks from 85+ adult pairs. Some pairs had no chicks or the nest failed for some reason. The group has until mid-July for a final count.
For 15 years, former Marco Island environmental specialist, Nancy Richie collected the burrowing owl data and with a group of local volunteers also maintained the sites. The Owl Watch Group of Marco Island, under the coordination of Audubon of the Western Everglades has decided to continue the program. This is a “citizen science” project, as the volunteers are not biologist but whose field observations are vital to the burrowing owl’s preservation.
Fun OWL Facts:
• Native to Florida
• About the size of a water bottle
• The young adults will take over unused burrows nearby or dig a new burrow of their own.
• Once partners are chosen, they mate for life
• A group of owls is called a “parliament of owls”
The Owl Watch volunteers are entering the final stretch of their data collection and monitoring project. They are starting to weed whack a few sites that are very overgrown and where the chicks have fledged. It is also time to do needed maintenance to repair broken PVC pipes and joints and replace some of the wooden perches, which are specific for this species.
Audubon is seeking to partner with local landscapers about a discounted rate for all the owl postings in Marco Island. Training will be provided on how to enter a posting without collapsing the burrows. Landscape vehicles that will be maintaining the postings for Audubon will be provided with an Audubon logo on the side of their trucks.
Jean Hall has met with Dan Stoller, owner of S&S Landscape Service, who’s been trained on how to properly enter burrowing owl postings. Dan is a big burrowing owl supporter and one of its newest volunteers. He is helping Owl Watch reach out to the landscape community for both donations and volunteer services.
Please help Marco’s Burrowing Owls with a donation to provide supplies such as ropes, posts and signs. To make a donation, please visit the website at: www.collieraudubon.info/owl-watch.html.
If you are an owner of a landscape service, your assistance is needed this summer. Please contact: email@example.com, or call 239-643-7822.