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CCF wants community to learn WHO the owls are

By Staff | Feb 12, 2009

They can compete with the best of the best vermin exterminators.

Some can screech louder than a cranky tot denied a candy bar in the impulse aisle of a shopping market.

And they weigh next to nothing and yet can fly like Superman.

Any ideas?

Well if you guessed the owl then you are right.

Sanibel and Captiva are home to three kinds of owls, including the Barn Owl, Eastern Screech Owl and the Great Horned Owl. There are five species of owls in Florida and 222 worldwide.

These owls have their own nesting styles and habitat needs. But all are important to the islands fragile ecosystem. Dee Serage-Century, the program coordinator for the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) said she is trying to collect information on the islands owls to better understand their numbers and needs.

“I am hoping to get some ideas,” Serage-Century said.

She is also sponsoring a educational program at SCCF on Friday, Feb. 27 at 10 a.m.

The nesting season for Great Horned, Barn, and Screech Owls of the islands has begun and the SCCF would like your help in locating their nesting sites. The Great Horned Owl does not make its’ own nest but uses one built by an osprey, hawk, or eagle. They already have chicks in the nest. They are also top of the predator list. They eat mice, rats and other small mammals. The Screech and Barn Owls nest in tree cavities made by woodpeckers or nest boxes. There is a nest box on the side of the SCCF nature center where Barn owls have nested since 1980. SCCF is waiting for their arrival any day. Island Screech owls are in the courting phase with males guarding territory and calling to females.

Serage-Century is particularly interested in learning about the islands Barn Owls. She noted that the island’s Screech Owls are doing well. Many live in resident’s back yards in cavity boxes purchased at SCCF.

If you have owl sightings especially the location of nests, call or e-mail Dee at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation at 472-2329 (dserage@sccf.org).

(SCCF press reports contributed to this story)