Burrowing Owls
We read Hoot, by Carl Hiaasen, in class, in 2009. 
    Recently, I read Hoot, by Carl Hiaasen, and learned about burrowing owls. They are ''only eight or nine inches tall.  They are dark brown with spotted wings, with whitish throats, and pearcing amber eyes''(41).  According to Roy - They  ''probably aren't too crazy about hamburger meat.They eat mostly bugs and worms (171).
Also, they actually build their nests in holes in the ground made by gophers, turtles and other animals. Roy found a page about burrowing owls in The Sibley Guide to Birds.  It read, ''Burrowing owl [...] Athene Cunicularia. Long-legged and short-tailed with relatively long, narrow wings and flat head.  Only small owl likely to be seen in daylight" (Hiaasen 154).
    Burrowing owls have become endangered.  In Hoot, Carl Hiaasen states, "It turned out that a thorough E.I.S. (Environmental Impact Statement) had been completed and that the company's iologists had documented three mated pairs of burrowing owls  living on the property.  In Florida, the birds were strictly protected as a Species of Special Concern, so their presence
    
on the Mother Paula's site would have created serious legal problems - and a public relations disaster - if it had become widely known" (282).
     Roy helped to prevent the construction of Mother Paula's Pancake Site by talking to his classmates about the owls, according to page   Roy stated ''Most everybody here likes pancakes.  I sure do, and when I first heard that a new Mother Paula's was going to open here in Coconut Cove, I thought that was preety cool [...] Even when I found out where they're going to build it - that big empty lot at the corner of Woodbury
and East Oriole- I didnt see anything wrong with the idea, then one day, a friend of mine took me out there and showed me something that changed my mind totally, it was an owl, about this tall [..,] When my family lived out West, we saw plenty of owls, but never one this small. And he wasn't a baby either, he was full grown! He was so straight and serious he looked like a little toy professor, they're called burrowing owls because they actually live underground, in holes made by tortoises and armadillos, turns out that a couple of owl families  hang out on that land at Woodbury and East Oriole, they made their nests in the dens and that's where they raise their babies (245).
He also helped by getting the children involved with the situation. If the Miami-Dade County School Board decided to build a parking lot where our burrowing owls live, then our school is going to have to go through
acontroversy because burrowing owls are protected by the law.
A Hoot for the Owls
       by Yennifer Castillo
HOME
One of our
Burrowing Owls
at
North Dade Middle School.
On March 3rd, 2010, North Dade Middle School was condemned.  Parents came to a meeting  held at the school that night. Since the sign had blown down, someone parked right on top of the owls' nest.  At
10:30 p.m., after all the cars had left, Mrs. Yellen checked on the burrowing owls.  Their nest was completely covered up.  She said that one of the men, who were loading boxes into the moving van, held a flash light so she could dig out the sand that was covering the opening of the nest.   She called Officer Delano of the Florida Fish and Wildlife.  The next day, he told her that the owls had abandoned their nest. 
     But guess what?   Three days later, the burrowing owls returned.  Mrs. Yellen, along with her mother,  decided to check on the nest that Saturday, March 6th.  While she was there, they were very busy digging out the sand.  A lady who had been cleaning the "Academy," a new building at the old North Dade Middle School, told Mrs. Yellen that
she thought it was a gopher digging the hole, because every time she walked by that area that day, she saw sand just flying out of the ground.             Officer Delano said that the nest was active again and told Mrs. Yellen that he would make sure that he put a new sign at the nesting site to protect the owls.  He also said that there was a likelihood that the young would hatch in three weeks.  Once the young leave their nest, the burrowing owls leave and generally come back to nest at or near the same site the next year.   In fact, they have been nesting in this area for the past five years.    
     The above pictures were taken on April 9th, 2010.  So, the owls are doing okay at North Dade Middle School.