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Owl Census: Cape Friends of Wildlife need help counting city’s official bird

By Staff | May 16, 2019

Cape Coral’s official bird is getting tallied, and the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife need your help.

On Saturday, June 1, volunteers will scour the city to count just how many of our little burrowing owls call the city home.

This survey is part of a multi-year study, that officials said will hopefully help with future owl management plans.

“The survey is important to the city because understanding the owl population densities and dynamics are vital in protecting these birds and their habitats,” said Cheryl Black, project coordinator for the CCFW.

To be a citizen-scientist and assist for the day, volunteers must attend a training session on how to accurately count burrowing owls across the city.

“Volunteers who participate in the survey must attend training and will learn about how to survey their assigned areas, how to identify burrows and count adult and juvenile owls, and how to take and record GPS locations for burrows,” said Black.

Training will take place at the Rotary Park building on Friday, May 24, at 7 p.m.

Black said the session will last about an hour.

“Burrowing owls are of vital importance to the Cape. They are the official city birds, a threatened species, and tourists from all over the state and the world come to the Cape to see these fascinating birds,” added Black.

There are more than 2,500 burrows across the city that are protected by law, as the owls are classified as a “species of special concern” by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Cape Coral is home to the largest known population of the Florida burrowing owl, which is a threatened species. These pint sized birds burrow underground where they nest from early February through mid-July.

Volunteers will be conducting the survey from 8 a.m. until noon on June 1.

Deadline to register to be a volunteer is May 23.

Those interested may send an email to Black at cherylowls124@gmail.com

For more information on the burrowing owl and the CCFW, visit ccfriendsofwildlife.org.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj