National Wildlife Week: Cooper City Creates a Home for Burrowing Owls

Burrowing owls in Broward County, FL
Burrowing owls in Broward County, FL
In late February, more than 40 families joined together at Forest Lake Park in Cooper City, Florida to create 6 artificial burrows for its resident burrowing owls. Many of the children attend Griffin Elementary School and along with Teacher Jacque Sanchez have championed for the burrowing owls on school property as well. Kelly Heffernan, founder of Project Perch, started off the event by reading a children’s book about making a difference for wildlife in your community. Habitat Stewards and City Arborist Jeannette Wofford organized teams to install the burrows, signage and fencing.

Community-made burrow
Burrow installed at Forest Lake Park in Cooper City, FL.

Artificial Burrowing Systems have been in existence since the 1970s to help provide shelter for declining owl populations, since these small owls naturally live in open, treeless areas, which are in decline.

These burrows are simple to create and install, and other parks in Florida can follow Forest Lake Park’s lead. Their burrow includes pieces of PVC pipe to help protect the burrows from collapsing under the weight of mowers and other heavy equipment that maintain public spaces.

Residents can also create burrows in their own yards following these steps from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Cooper City is located in Broward County, which has been a Community Wildlife Habitat with NWF since 2005.  The county encourages its municipalities to do the same.  To date, 16 municipalities are registered or certified Community Wildlife Habitats. Burrowing owls are no strangers to the area. Portions of the movie “Hoot” were filmed in Broward County and Cooper City’s middle school celebrated the premier with a visit from cast and starring owls.

Broward County was recently named a Great Place for Wildlife as part of the National Wildlife Week 2015 Celebration. Did your city make the grade?