A Decidedly Non-English Visitor

Try as I might, I can't find a way to put a British spin on this post, so I'll just beg your indulgence in order to tell you that my husband and I have recently been blessed by the appearance of a burrowing owl who has taken up residency on our front porch.

You can barely see him (her), but he's standing in the flower pot to the right, behind the white railings.

Here's a closer look. True to its name, the Burrowing Owl nests in a hole in the ground. Although it is quite willing to dig its own burrow, it often uses one already provided by prairie dogs, skunks, armadillos, or tortoises. The first published report of the Burrowing Owl was in 1782 by Giovanni Iganzio Molina, an Italian Jesuit priest stationed in Chile.

The Burrowing Owl can be seen year-round, day or night, in central and south Florida. They prefer open prairie, but are also found in agricultural, recreational and residential areas. Burrowing Owls are the only North American owl that nests underground, and sometimes they will nest colonially with just a few feet separating each burrow.

Florida Burrowing Owls are state-listed as a species of special concern. Estimates put the Florida Burrowing Owl population at around 3,000 birds. The City of Cape Coral - where we live - claims Florida's largest population of the burrowing owl, and each year holds a Burrowing Owl Festival.

We've named ours "Ollie."