Florida is well known for its burrowing owl population, a population that is most prevalent in Central and Southern Florida. The burrowing owls are currently listed as a species of special concern, with current estimates predicting that their population is only about 3,000 birds.
These beautiful birds can be observed year-round during the day and at night. Unlike most owl species, which remain inactive during the day, the burrowing owl stays active all day long, though they tend to avoid midday heat. The burrowing owl tends to hunt at night, with long legs that help them sprint after their prey.
The burrowing owl is the only North American owl species that nests underground, hence its aptly given name. The burrowing owl prefers open prairie habitats, but has also been known to frequent agricultural, recreational, and residential areas as well. The loss of this specie’s habitat is to blame for declining numbers, though these birds are highly adaptable and have even been known to make use of airport grasslands and golf courses for nesting.
Burrowing owls can sometimes be spotted from airboat rides through the Everglades, though their spotted brown coloring tends to keep them well camouflaged. Airboat tours are an excellent way to observe many of Florida’s native birds in their natural habitat, as well as Florida’s non-flying residents as well.