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Burrowing Owl Population Grows On Marco Island

Jessica Meszaros

The burrowing owlpopulation on Marco Island is doing so well, a small volunteer group wants more people to help maintain the burrows of this “Species of Special Concern.” Audubon of the Western Evergladesis leading the new recruitment effort. The Burrowing Owl Watch Project launched this past weekend. 

For more than a decade, about six volunteers trimmed, cleaned and monitored burrows on Marco Island each week. But now there are more than 400 burrowing owls there, living in about 150 burrows that all need to be sustained.

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"It's quite a job. It's grown beyond the small group of volunteers who have been working really hard to maintain those burrows," said Brad Cornell with Audubon of the Western Everglades. "Now we need to expand that effort and we're looking for help."

Audubon now supervises the volunteers after the local group reached out, asking for help. Cornell said nearly 30 people signed up to volunteer Saturday—that’s more than he had hoped. They will now begin their bi-monthly monitoring program designed by local wildlife biologists. 

Jessica Meszaros is a reporter and host of Morning Edition at WUSF Public Media, and former reporter and host of All Things Considered for WGCU News.
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