We have something special in Antioch! In addition to the beautiful new community center being built, we have a lovely new nature area right behind it. The City of Antioch has created a 24-acre preserve that will be forever protected and cared for by using the interest made from an endowment fund. I am especially fond of this area because it is home to feathered friends of mine called burrowing owls. Burrowing owls are 9 inches tall and live in the ground. The burrowing owl is declining and is listed as a bird of special concern in the state of California.
It delights me that Antioch is the first city in the East Bay to have created something this unique. It has done an outstanding job making this area attractive to the burrowing owls. While this is not the most ideal living situation for burrowing owls, it is adequate for them and they don’t seem to mind being surrounded by development.
This past weekend, with a little help from friends, we installed six nesting boxes in the ground. Now the owls have choices between natural burrows and a few manmade burrows. This was a very labor-intensive job but we got the job done. So, many thanks to Lonnie Karste, the community center’s project manager, for allowing me to add these new owl homes.
Many thanks to the Friends of Marsh Creek for getting so many volunteers on short notice. Many thanks to the Burrowing Owl Preservation Society, which graciously donated all the materials, and many thanks to all the volunteers who came out with such enthusiasm – and their shovels – to help with this project. We never could have done it without you!
Some day I hope to add some solar cameras inside the nesting boxes so that life inside them can be viewed from inside the community center. I think this would be a great addition to the educational part of the nature area. But first I need to think about how to raise money for that project.
Dee Vieira, Antioch