Marco Islander Barbara Evans got some new neighbors this year. Living on the vacant lot next to her on Rose Court, these furry, feathered friends are actually burrowing owls.
The owl family has lived next to Evans for the last eight years, and maybe even longer, she said. Just three weeks ago though, she heard the faint sound of a baby owl’s cry and rushed out to photograph these precious creatures coming out of their burrow for the first time.
“There are six in the (clutch),” explained Evans. “They are trying to fly,” but to no avail yet.
Although the Rose Court neighbors haven’t named the owl family, Evans welcomes the new additions. There are four separate nests on the lot and are often hard to spot.
Nancy Richie, City of Marco Island environmental specialist, said that the burrowing owl population is extremely low this year, due directly to the drought.
“We have really low numbers for the last two years,” she said. On the island, there are 98 burrowing sites but only 49 are actually occupied. Of those 49 sites, 39 house a nesting pair. Together those pairs can have between one and seven owlets.
For those who wish to visit the Rose Court site please be quite and respectful, keep dogs on a leash, keep cats in the house and avoid the marked areas.
Richie also suggested a burrowing owl site on Barcelona Court as an alternative to Rose Court. The owls on Barcelona Court just welcomed their babies too.