Sep 29, 2021 - News

How to help threatened burrowing owls

A pair of burrowing owls sit together near Cape Coral.

A pair of burrowing owls near Cape Coral. Photo: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In the 1980s, Hillsborough County had more adorable burrowing owls than any other U.S. county.

  • But during the Audubon's 2018 Christmas Bird Count, volunteers found none. The Athene cunicularia floridana is now listed as "threatened" on Florida's Endangered and Threatened Species list.

What's happening: Sprawling development in eastern Hillsborough has nearly wiped out the local population of pint-sized predators that feed on insects, rodents and snakes, 83 Media reports.

Driving the news: The Tampa Audubon Society is trying to revive the local population by building sturdy burrows on farms, prairies and open land.

Due to the amount of new construction, they are really losing options faster than we can replace them.
— Rebecca Schneider, a regional biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, to 83 Degrees.

What's next: Tampa Audubon is working with schools, strawberry farmers and ranchers to find good spots for the faux burrows.

  • Now they need more friendly landowners to host the burrows and volunteers to install them.
Other ways to help:

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