Community briefsOwl-cookie fundraiser
The Shoreline Lake's Aquatic Center and Lakeside Cafe are selling owl-shaped, hand-decorated sugar cookies as a fundraiser for Mountain View's burrowing owls.
Silicon Shores Corporation, which operates the aquatic center and café, plans to donate $2 for each cookie, which sells for $4.95. The proceeds will go to the city of Mountain View and the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society to support efforts to improve the owls' habitat and raise awareness about the dwindling population.
"An innovative local opportunity to help save the owls is always welcome," said Shani Kleinhaus, an environmental advocate with the Audubon Society.
The local burrowing owl population numbered in the hundreds in the 1980s when the city began to track their numbers. It has dwindled to 35 pairs today.
Phil Higgins, a city-employed biologist who maintains the owls' habitat, attributes the owls' steep decline to numerous predators. Not only do hawks and dogs attack the birds, humans also pose a serious threat. Park maintenance workers may accidentally run over their burrows with a truck. Wildlife photographers often get too close, which may cause the owls to abandon their eggs.