Threatened burrowing owls spotted at Doral construction site

FWC investigating if building work is affecting their habitat

DORAL, Fla. – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating after burrowing owls -- classified by the state as a threatened species -- have been found on a construction site in Doral.

Teenager Maya Howard spotted the burrowing owls while she was walking through the site near Northwest 82nd Avenue and Northwest 41st Street.

"When we were walking, we saw them fly right by us," Maya said.

Unlike most owls, burrowing owls make their nests in the ground and are often active during the day.

Maya and her mother, Jeriann Howard, called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission concerned that the owls could be harmed by the ongoing construction.

FWC said a search didn't turn up any eggs so it was possible that the owls at the site were merely scouting. If that's the case, the construction shouldn't threaten the animals.

"They are going to further investigate to see if the company has properly identified the presence of these animals," Jeriann Howard said.

The FWC says the burrowing owls are facing several threats, including trash and construction debris. However, the biggest one is the loss of habitat.

Although FWC is investigating, residents said more people need to be aware.

"We are not taking the proper steps to preserve the immense biological diversity we have in South Florida. We are adding species to the endangered list daily, and I feel as a community we need to protect these animals," Jeriann Howard said.

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