There will be a special visitor Feb. 25 at the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife’s 10th annual Burrowing Owl Festival at Rotary Park (5600 Rose Garden Road, Cape Coral). Peace River Wildlife Center’s own resident burrowing owl, Dug, will be the guest of honor. Dug came to PRWC with a compound fracture of his wing. His bones were broken in several places and actually pierced through the skin. After a partial amputation to get the infection under control, Dug recovered well enough to be placed in our educational display area. This will be Dug’s first off-site visit. He will be accompanied by one of his roommates, Screech (a screech owl), who has been a longtime ambassador for PRWC.
The burrowing owl is similar in size to an eastern screech owl — approximately 10 inches in length, with a 20-inch wing span — and much smaller than most of Florida’s native owls. Its feathers are light brown, mottled with white spots and bars. This small owl has strikingly bright yellow eyes and long legs without feathers. Its face is brown with a whitish chin and eyebrows, and it lacks the ear tufts of the screech owl. There may be a slight difference in size between the sexes, with the female being a little heavier, while the male is actually a bit taller. Often the male’s feathers are a lighter shade due to the fact that they tend to spend more time in the sun, while the females are usually in the burrow.
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