The next time you’re visiting with us at Marco Island’s #BestKeptSecret, plan time to get to know an esteemed member of our population, the Burrowing Owl. The scientific name for these feathered friends of Marco Island is Athene cunicularia floridana. About 500 burrowing owls live on Marco Island. They are the only species to nest underground, and are considered a species of concern and thus burrow, nest, eggs, chicks and adult owls are protected on the island.
The best time to see the owls is from January through June, and the best time to see the chicks is late April through June. However, with a bit of patience and a dash of luck, you’re likely to spot these island friends any time of the year. Unlike many owl species that are largely nocturnal, burrowing owls are active both day and night. They do much of their hunting at dawn and dusk, primarily foraging on insects, especially grasshoppers and beetles, although small lizards, frogs, snakes, birds, and rodents are also important prey.
The burrowing owl may dig its own nest or utilize the abandoned burrows of prairie dogs, armadillos, skunks, or pocket gophers. Young owls emerge from the burrow at 2 weeks and stay with their parents for approximately 12 weeks.
There are owl burrows to discover all over Marco Island. Read more about them here, and keep a look out for one of their burrows as you explore!
An amazing photo journal can be found here:
We look forward to visiting with you soon!
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