'Hooters' update Night life on Marco is lively
Article Date: 2004-04-07 Source: http://www.naplesnews.com
By Chris Curle
Marco Island, Florida, U.S.A. - Some snowbirds and other Marco Islanders may think our piece of paradise
is a backwater for cool, hot night life.
But they're wrong, and I'm not even counting the many gathering places
here, for good live music, good food and great people-watching. I'm
talking about the action at the homes of several of our special party
animals here — the burrowing owls.
We have at least 141 active at this writing — little subterranean hotbeds
of owl-o-mania. The city's environmental specialist, Nancy Richie, says
about 80 are active home sites for about 170 of the short, long-legged
They are living, loving, hatching and generally exploring life, often
inside rectangles of yellow tape.
"At least four of the active burrows are on developed property," Nancy
told me. "One is at the home of Jim and Rita Langdon, who put in a starter
burrow on their property on Sand Hill. The other three apparently were
chosen and created from scratch by the owls themselves."
The Langdons love their owls and will chronicle their stories with little
"We dug the starter burrow on our front yard in March of last year," Jim
explained. "Soon as we put up the T-bar, a male owl showed up and began
digging the burrow deeper. And he never left."
Trouble was, the Langdons' male owl tenant had trouble hooking up with a
"We named him Mr. Hooter because he hooted most of the night, trying to
attract a mate," Rita Langdon said. "The poor little thing was very
persistent, but unsuccessful."
This year, Mr. Hooter got lucky," Rita said. "A female showed up and I'm
sure they have eggs or chicks now, because they're very protective."
The Langdons' burrowing owl maternity ward is a popular neighborhood
hangout for local kids, who refer to the birds as "Mr. and Mrs. Owl."
The Marco Trolley tour bus goes by and slows as the tourists hang out the
windows taking pictures of the owl.
The Langdons, who work at the Marco YMCA, are fine folks, but their owls
are celebrities. They also are good neighbors to the humans. They do a lot
more than just pose for pictures. Burrowing owls eat lizards, small
rodents, frogs and snakes. They also love large crawling insects that we
consider lawn pests, including mole crickets, beetles and roaches. Yep,
they love to eat roaches, all crunchy and crackly. Yum.
The official nesting season for our owls is Feb. 15 through July 10. But
not being slaves to our calendars, the critters sometimes start early and
stay longer. Inspired by the Langdons, Keith and Barbara Dameron hope to
lure tardy owls to their new Buccaneer Court burrow.
Homebuilders often are less than enthusiastic about the owls because they
usually can't start construction while the owl nests in the way are
active. But they can begin the paperwork and planning, so they can start
construction as soon as they get the permit, usually by mid-July.
Moreover, if the owl nests are not in the actual construction footprint,
builders can work around them. The owls are very urbanized and don't mind
the noise and bustle of putting up a house.
Increasingly, owl lovers are trying to attract them to the fringes of
developed property. You, too, might enjoy having owls nearby. If so,
contact Nancy Richie at City Hall.
Don't forget: These cute little birds really, really love to eat
Disclaimer: This article has been reproduced from http://www.naplesnews.com and placed here for comment.
OwlPages.com is not responsible for the accuracy of any information in this article, and does not necessarily agree with the author's opinions.
2008-05-25 - Burrowing owls make great neighbors by Leigh Tahirovic - Marco Island, Florida, U.S.A.
2007-07-16 - Burrowing owls strive to survive drought, too busy to bear new crop by Jeremy Cox - Marco Island, Florida, U.S.A.
2006-11-01 - 2 burrowing owls make themselves at home on Site C by Ed Bania - Marco Island, Florida, U.S.A.
2006-08-16 - You can help homeless burrowing owls by Kara Kenney - Marco Island, Florida, U.S.A.
2006-06-15 - Burrowing owls holding their own by Mike Reilly - Marco Island, Florida, U.S.A.
2005-05-04 - Marcophile: Our owls: good news and bad news by Chris Curle - Marco Island, Florida, U.S.A.
< Previous News article | Next News Article >
Comment on the above News article.