..Owl Watch

History of Burrowing Owls on Marco Island

When Nancy Richie, Environmental Specialist for the City of Marco Island, began monitoring owls in 2001, only a handful were present on the island.

From, 2001 to the present, posting and oversight by Nancy Richie and the Owl Prowl (maintenance crew volunteers) have helped the city's burrowing owl population grow to over 400, even with urban development at an all time high.

Since Mrs. Richie's departure to the private sector, Audubon of the Western Everglades is proud to sponsor this dynamic population to help protect this charismatic species of special concern.

Florida's burrowing owls dig their burrows in vacant lots and open spaces and are year-round residents. The local population breeds between February and July but some do rear their young outside of these months. Special permits are required for removal or relocation of burrows. Burrowing owls can be of special benefit in urban settings since they consume insects including roaches and mole crickets. They also eat amphibians and rodents.

Burrowing Owls facts

  • Only species of owl to live underground
  • Burrows are up to 3 feet deep and 5-12 feet long.
  • Return to the same burrows each year
  • Once partners are chosen, they mate for life
  • Oldest known owl was 9 years, 11 months
  • About 9 inches tall, the size of a water bottle
  • Diurnal and nocturnal, hunting day and night
  • Protected under Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, are a Florida species of special concern, and are a protected species through a CMI ordinance

Please report malicious destruction or harassment of burrowing owls or their burrows to

FWC 1-888-404-FWCC (3922)

How do you get involved:

  • Sponsor the Owl Prowl maintenance crew and Owl Watch by donating to AWE for a business sponsorship, equipment need to maintain the burrows, signs to post at burrows and supplies needed to mark around a burrow area.
  • Monitor a neighborhood during nesting season. Training will be provided.
  • If you want to attract a burrow in your yard, we can supply you with a starter burrow kit.
  • E-mail owlwatchmarco@gmail.com to get more information.

Please help us save these beautiful creatures!

Read about those who contribute to the program in the Coastal Breeze News

Help Marco's Burrowing Owls with a donation to provide supplies such as rope, posts, signs, and lawn care to maintain the grassy areas around the burrows.

and thank you to our sustaining sponsors, adopt a burrow sponsors, and corporate/family sponsors listed below who continue to support our Owl Watch Program.

ADOPT A BURROW! Click HERE to learn how.





Kitty Argobright

Rebecca Beatty

Patricia Bungert

Chris Curle

Doug & Jan DeJaratt

Jared & Elsa Grifoni

Paul & Sharyn Kampmeyer

Scott & Kristine Karl

Terrence & Andrea McCreanor

Lindsey Puder

George Purvis

Curt & Jeannette Scheifinger

Patricia Semler

Ann Thanos


Epple Holdings, LLC

Corrie Grado


The Champagne Family

Brad & Sharon Epple

Jean Hall