“Now therefore, be it proclaimed by the City Council of Marco Island, Florida that February 18th, be designated as Owl Watch Appreciation Day in honor of the dedication of the volunteers of Owl Watch to protect and preserve the burrowing owls of Marco Island.”
Allison Smith, staff biologist and manager of the burrowing owl research program in Marco, declared 2019 an amazing season. For 2019, Owl Watch’s super volunteers logged 6,600 hours of observations and reported 242 pairs of burrowing owls with 563 fledged chicks with an average of 2.5 chicks per pair and 101 banded owls.
In 2019, Audubon of the Western Everglades also recognized two Owl Watch Marco volunteers, Fred Adams and Lin Taylor.
Sustaining the owl habitat is critical for burrowing owls in Marco, and AWE’s Owl Watch Program has introduced the concept of the Starter Burrow Program.
The Program is a new concept for Marco Island which is an incentive grant to encourage more residents to participate in the Starter Burrow Program. This pilot program has been approved by City Council and is the first in State and most likely in the country.
New for the 2020 burrowing owl season, Owl Watch monitoring will be going high tech with the introduction of an App to record the observational data using NestStory. Monitors will be trained on how to use the App during its March 7th training session at Mackle Park.