Rescue group asking homeowners to let owls burrow on their property

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With more developments popping up in Cape Coral, nearly 2,500 owls are left with almost nowhere to go. Now one local group is trying to protect them.

Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife are on a mission to protect the Cape’s burrowing owls. They are even encouraging residents to allow them to burrow right outside their front doors.

“If we’re going to maintain the population, it’s going to be through people putting them in their front yards,” said Pascha Donaldson, vice president of the rescue group.

Donaldson is one of the volunteers digging burrows on people’s properties.

“They say build it and they’ll come. So that’s the attitude we’re having. Build it and they’ll come, and you can have your own little burrowing owl in your front yard,” Donaldson said.

Cape Coral has over 2,500 burrows, but Friends of Wildlife says recent construction and development across the city is threatening the owls.

“There’s a lot of building going on so we thought it would be good to encourage the owls to go ahead and join our family,” said homeowner Joseph Fischer.

Fischer and his wife volunteered to have a burrow on the side of their home.

“One of the things that we like here is the environment, and as a result, it’s not just plants and flowers, but wildlife is important to us as well,” Fischer said.

But these owls are protected, and damaging, filling or destroying their burrows is a crime, which can make things complicated for property owners.

“If they do land on your property and you have a lot of land to sell and that’s your income, maybe your retirement, and you can’t sell it, you lose and the owls win,” said Cape Coral resident Linda Bourque.

Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife hope burrows at already existing homes will be a win for both people and owls.

“It’d be kind of neat to have a city that everybody had their own little personal city bird on their front yard,” Donaldson said.

Right now is nesting season for these owls, so the group says if you’re going to help and put a burrow on your property, now is the time to do it.

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