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Screech Owl warning signs are up on Sanibel Captiva Road

By Staff | Jun 17, 2015

The screech owl warning signs went up Tuesday, June 9, on Sanibel Captiva Road near mile markers five and seven. Two signs were installed by City of Sanibel workers, one just passed Wulfert Road heading to Captiva and another one near mile marker seven heading to Sanibel. BRIAN WIERIMA

Drivers cruising down Sanibel Captiva Road will now have a reminder to keep aware and their foot off the gas pedal to help save Sanibel’s screech owls.

Two screech owl warning signs have been erected on Sanibel Captiva Road heading in each direction, to give drivers a heads up there are low-flying owls crossing the road.

There have been 41 screech owl deaths reported since last October, a number Sanibel resident Doris Hardy hopes is curbed with the addition of the warning signs.

Hardy, who started the resident action committee Save Our Screech Owls (SOSO) after seeing first hand the amount of owls being hit by cars between mile markers five and seven on Sanibel Captiva Road, is thrilled with the new signs.

“They are perfectly placed and I do believe they will make a difference,” Hardy said.

The signs, which were installed by City of Sanibel workers Tuesday, June 9, are 24-inches across in bright yellow and black outlining, with four lights framing it.

The LED lights are solar powered and will have a dusk to dawn sensor to activate it, and a motion sensor to stop blinking 30 seconds after a car has passed it.

Each sign cost $1,915 each and is manufactured by Solar Traffic Signs Incorporated out of Rockdale, Ill.

“We are certainly curious to see what sort of effect they have,” said City of Sanibel acting Natural Resources Director Holly Milbrandt. “The placement of the signs was heavily based on observations Doris Hardy made and that was by mile markers five and seven. It’s also nice the signs can be relocated and having the solar capability gives us a lot of flexibility, as well.”

Hardy will continue to record the number of Screech Owls hit by vehicles on Sanibel Captiva Road and report back to the City Council sometime in the near future to find out if the signs are working to lower the fatality rate of the owl.