Cape Coral must protect burrowing owls ahead of July 4 celebration

UPDATE FROM THE CITY:

The nests are inactive. There are no eggs and/or flightless young. In accordance with the permit issued by FWC, the burrows will be collapsed. A starter burrow will be installed following the Red, White and Boom event to encourage the burrowing owl pair to move to a more remote area of the property.

With American Independence Day up ahead, a city in Southwest Florida must focus on its tiny, feathered friends.

The City of Cape Coral has seven days to form a plan to protect burrowing owl nests at the foot of Cape Coral Bridge prior to the “Red, White and Boom” celebration Thursday, July 4, when a fireworks show will light up the sky.

The city hired an ecologist to properly inspect the nest area near the bridge. If there are no young owls or eggs in the burrows, they will be relocated. If the opposite is discovered, the burrows will remain untouched.

Some neighbors in Cape are concerned about the effect big event with fireworks will have on nearby wildlife.

“I don’t want to be too close to the fireworks with my 19-month-old trying to sleep,” Jaimee Martindale said. “So I can understand how it can be a disturbance to wildlife and other animals as well.”

Neighbor Stacey Riley hopes relocation will be an option available to the city. If it’s not, she thinks the city will have to.

“If they have babies, then Red, White and Boom is just going to have to find somewhere else to do their fireworks,” Riley said.

Burrowing owls are the city birds of Cape Coral, and they are a threatened species, designated by the state. Cape Coral received a permit from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to move the owls.

MORE: FWC – Burrowing owl 

“The application is under review,” said Melody Killborn with FWC. “It appears that the city has met all of the requirements outlined in the guidelines.”

The city expects to receive a verdict on whether the nests can be safely moved or not next week, and that’s when we will learn more about how the city will proceed with its event.

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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