Wednesday, January 26, 2022

First Annual Hootenanny on Marco Island Successful Burrowing Owl Nesting Season Celebrated

On Saturday, November 3rd, Mackle Park guests eagerly joined in the festivities as the Audubon of the Western Everglades (AWE) held their 1st Annual Hootenanny. AWE volunteers graciously welcomed guests with cider and donuts while The Paddle Faster Bluegrass Band performed at the free event. As guests perused the displays, Owl Watch monitors shared their stories from the latest nesting season and educated guests about burrowing owls and their habitat.

“Today is our first-ever annual Hootenanny, and we are celebrating all things owl. We are doing this to commemorate the most successful nesting season ever recorded for the burrowing owls on Marco Island,” explained AWE Executive Director Mimi Wolok.

Owl Watch and the Marco Island Burrowing Owl Graduating Class of 2018 Nesting Season Statistics (according to the AWE website) include:

  • 760 volunteer hours.
  • 4,570 observations at burrows.
  • 194 owl pairs monitored.
  • 3 average fledged chick per pair.
  • 98 owls banded by AWE biologist.
  • 423 chicks fledged, highest on record.

“Today, guests also have a chance to adopt a burrowing owl or sign up to host their very own starter burrow. We have four very special burrowing owls they may choose from: Potato, Piper, Athena, and Ollie. Each owl has a unique story. For example, a child came up with the name Potato. ‘It’s oval, brown, and lives underground and should be named Potato.’ Piper has had a couple harrowing years. First, her burrow was flooded, she started again, she also lost her mate, and raised their only chick as a single mom. This year, she ended up finding a new mate and had three chicks. She is strong and persevered. Athena is a strong mother of five chicks. She is feisty and takes great care of her family. Ollie likes to decorate his burrow with coconut husks and big sticks. Today, guests can walk away with adoption certificates and more information on each owl,” said Wolok.

“We just knew we had to adopt Potato today. We did so in honor of our 14-year-old granddaughter, Charlotte, who loves potatoes. She will get a chance to see Potato when she visits us in February,” explained Mary and Bob Randall of Naples, long-time, active members of the Audubon Society.

“Today, I adopted Athena. I really liked her story,” remarked an excited Annette Mennella.

Register now for the AWE’s first evening talk of the season, “The Lake O-Algae Connection,” presented by John Cassani, Calusa Waterkeeper, at 7 PM on November 13th at the Naples Botanical Garden.

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