Full grown these owls only measure 19-28 cm (7.5-11 inches) long, with wing spans of 59.8-61 cm (20-24 inches). The adults owl weighs a paltry 4.9-8.5 ounces (140-240 grams). For comparison an average adult Florida Burrowing Owl is only slightly larger than an American Robin (Turdus migratorius).
If you see these little owls don't tell anyone where they are. The Burrowing Owls of Florida are increasingly subjected to violent death from vehicle collisions, predation by domestic animals, and human harassment. Additionally, real estate development has reduced their habitat significantly.
The species is currently listed as a species of special concern by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. It was assigned this designation in 1979 and is protected under the Commission's rules. It is also protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Unlike its western counterparts, the Florida Burrowing Owl is nonmigratory.
Burrowing Owls prey on insects and small vertebrates. Beetles, grasshoppers and crickets are important food items. Other food sources are crabs, crayfish, frogs, toads, lizards, brown anole lizards, snakes, and rodents.
Mating and courtship generally occurs between February and July when a clutch of two to six eggs is laid. The eggs are incubated by the female for 28-30 days. The young owlets are raised and fed by the female.
Males gather and present the female with food for the young. Young owls emerge from the burrow at approximately two weeks of age.
At four weeks they are able to take short flights and can fly well at six weeks. Fledgling occurs about 42-45 days after hatching. The young will remain with their parents until they are twelve weeks old.
Of several subspecies of Burrowing Owls, the Florida subspecies reproduces the slowest resulting in slower replacement of owls killed or injured within the remaining population.
While most owls are nocturnal, the Burrowing Owl is active in the daytime. This family is generally viewed between 4pm and dusk. Their location will remain known only to the blogger in order to protect the birds.