Endangered Burrowing Owl in Florida

As cities expand in America, wildlife is often at risk of extinction. Habitats diminish in size and scope, and whole ecosystems can be destroyed if the natural balance of the area is disturbed. It’s truly a terrible thing to lose a whole species entirely due to neglect on the part of humans. Luckily, modern society has done a good job of identifying species at risk, which, at the very least, outlines what we can do to change the course. The Burrowing Owl is an example of an endangered species, particularly in Florida where it is protected by both state and federal law.

The Burrowing Owl has two distinct features. First, and most obvious, is its relatively small size compared to other owls, only reaching a length of nine inches. This type of owl is also mostly active during the day, a very unique trait considering most owls are famously active at night. Their “burrowing” label comes from the fact that they nest and lay eggs in the ground.

The primary threat to this species is a lack of suitable habitat (the Burrowing Owl is most at home in an area with flat, dry land). As Florida continues to develop on this kind of land, features like golf courses, farms, and airports have destroyed nesting areas for the Burrowing Owl.

The state of Florida feels that with proper action, they can restore the owl back to a point where it can be taken off the endangered list. Their action plan includes working with private land owners, and providing a list of action items and directions to follow. This includes providing “starter burrows”, avoiding activity near those burrows during mating season, not using dangerous substances, such as pesticides near the burrows, and posting signs to leave the owls alone.