I have heard of many species of birds that nest on the ground, but I have never heard of a bird that actually nests in the ground.

Let me introduce you to the ground Burrowing Owl. That is right! A ground Burrowing Owl seems so strange, doesn’t it? One of Florida’s smallest owls, they thrive in treeless areas. They have a sandy brown plumage that provides very effective camouflage. One of their favorite burrows are that of the abandoned dens of gopher turtles.

Mostly, the Burrowing Owl occupies the central prairie lands of Florida. Now, they can be found in agricultural fields, golf courses, airports, vacant lots and the abundant large prairie lands, where cattle can be seen grazing. These little owls can be found in most western states and Florida. When the young are disturbed in their dens, they make a buzzing sound that is very similar to a rattlesnake. Hearing that sound from deep inside a burrow should be more than sufficient to scare away anyone or any animal that might be curious about what is inside.

Whenever you see prairie dogs, look very closely, because there just might be some burrowing owls in the mix. Beetles are a favorite food, along with other insects, lizards, birds and mice. These little owls are awake and hunting in the daylight much more than other types of owls. When you look at a range map, it seems odd that these owls somehow find themselves in South Florida.

Cape Coral Florida is known to be the best place in Florida to see these Burrowing Owls. If you visit, you will likely see a few pairs of the nesting owls. There are over 1,000 pairs in the Cape Coral area, and the city goes out of its way to protect them. They place PVC piping and ropes around nests to protect them from the mowers. June seems to be the time of the year for when these owls are most active. I might try and visit this year. If I have any success, I will let you know.

 

God bless you all, RHM